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Confidence and Attitudes of Doctors and Dietitians towards Nutrition Care and Nutrition Advocacy for Hospital Patients in Kolkata, India
Malnutrition results in increased duration of patient stay and increases hospital costs. However, few studies address this issue in the Indian context. A recent UK study showed that intensive nutrition training was effective in increasing awareness of health professionals. In order to inform such educational interventions in India, a needs assessment was conducted in Kolkata by measuring doctors' and dietitians' attitudes and confidence regarding nutrition care, advocacy, and leadership. A total of 123 doctors (including general medicine, endocrinology, and critical care) and 56 dietitians completed a questionnaire. Doctors displayed moderate confidence in providing nutrition care but were less confident in their skills relating to advocacy and leadership. Dietitians displayed greater confidence than doctors in providing nutrition care but similarly lacked confidence in skills relating to advocacy and leadership. Overall, doctors and dietitians displayed equally positive attitudes towards nutrition in patient care. The greater confidence of dietitians compared to doctors in providing nutrition care may be the result of specialised training. Despite the limitations of this study, this paper provides a first glance at the gaps in nutritional practice within the doctors and dietitians community of Kolkata such that targeted future studies can now be planned.
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