Developing a dietary management algorithm for patients with IBD



The use of a standardised IBD nutrition assessment and treatment algorithm will improve the identification of patients with suboptimal nutritional status and result in more patients accessing appropriate dietary treatment

Dr Miranda Lomer, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

What is this research looking at? 

Despite diet playing an important role in how a lot of people manage their Crohn’s or Colitis, there are currently no specific guidelines on assessing the dietary needs of people with IBD. In combination with a lack of dietitians in IBD teams, this means that patients’ nutritional needs are often unmet. Many people consequently make changes to their diet without the appropriate clinical support, instead relying on advice from alternative sources such as internet forums. This can often lead to people missing out on valuable nutrients, and a large proportion of people with IBD, including those with active and inactive disease, suffer from malnutrition. 

The researchers want to develop a patient‐centred algorithm to better recognise the patients with IBD who need dietary advice. The algorithm will include a self‐assessment tool for patients to score their nutritional intake. They will then receive a recommendation based on their score, for example, they may have no nutritional issues, or many need referral to a dietitian for dietary management. Clinicians will discuss the results with each person so they can make an informed choice about their dietary management.

What do researchers think this could this mean for people with IBD? 

The algorithm will help identify the patients who would benefit from more support around their diet, and those at risk of malnutrition. This will help more people have quicker access to the right dietary treatment, improving their psychological, social and physical health.

The researchers also hope that the nutrition self‐screening tool will increase patients’ sense of control and ability to manage their diet themselves. This will give both patients and clinicians the confidence to start conversations about nutritional management as part of their ongoing care.

Having a standardised algorithm will also mean that people across the country will all have the same access to food and nutrition resources, and receive high-quality dietary care.

Who is leading the research: Dr Miranda Lomer, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
Our Funding: £111,580
Duration: 18 months
Official title of the application: Development of a nutritional assessment and dietary management algorithm for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) 
Diet, service development