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Participate in Decisions About Your Health Care – Ask Questions

Registered Dietitians are highly-trained experts in nutrition for healthy living and the treatment of nutrition-related diseases. As a client, you should participate in the decision-making about your care. You have the final say when it comes to accepting recommendations from a dietitian – that means you have the right to consent to or refuse any nutrition care treatment they recommend. So ask questions. Make sure you understand why you need the treatment, the benefits of the treatment and any potential risks. Ask about the consequences of turning the treatment down. Understanding this information will help you give an informed consent to any treatment proposed.

The College of Dietitians of Ontario works in the interest of the public by setting and monitoring standards for Registered Dietitians to offer safe, ethical and competent food and nutrition services.  We make sure dietitians have the knowledge it takes to listen to their clients, answer their questions and give them the details they need to make informed decisions before they proceed with any nutrition treatment.

Having Your Consent Is Required by Law

By law, Registered Dietitians must have your informed consent before they begin any treatment plan, except for emergencies. This means they need to be clear about their recommendations and what they mean for your health. When giving your consent:

  • You should feel informed, involved and respected. You should not feel pressured into any decision about your nutrition care. The law says you have the right to say yes or no, or even to change your mind after giving consent.
  • You and your family should ask questions and take the time to understand before accepting or refusing any nutrition care treatment plan.
  • The obligation is on your dietitian, not on you, to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.
  • Your dietitian is also responsible for taking reasonable steps to overcome obstacles in your understanding the information, such as, language, disabilities or cultural differences.
  • Refusing specific recommendations from your dietitian should not affect the rest of your nutrition care. Your dietitian will collaborate with you to find reasonable options and explain the risks linked to refusing any or all options.

Giving your informed consent means agreeing to a nutrition care treatment plan with a full understanding of what is involved. This allows you to participate in the decisions affecting your health.

Complaints or Concerns About the Services of a Dietitian

The College of Dietitians of Ontario assists people who have concerns about the services they have received from a Registered Dietitian. College staff is available to answer questions, to discuss a concern and to provide information about how to make a complaint. We will investigate complaints about the conduct of a Registered Dietitian and decisions resulting from an investigation may include:

  • providing guidance and orders to a dietitian to improve their practice;
  • suspending a member’s certificate of registration; or
  • revoking a member’s certificate of registration.







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