Friday, March 9, 2012

Support groups really make a difference!

After observing and shadowing a day in the life of a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition for bariatric patients at CHRISTUS Weight Loss Institute, I have learned how important the clinical team approach is in reaching out and supporting patients. The clinical team includes the bariatric surgeon, a registered dietitian, a registered nurse coordinator, a behaviorist, and an insurance specialist. All together this team is committed to providing as much support as is needed to help each individual to reach his or her goals for long-term success. 

     The changes in the diet and lifestyle after bariatric surgery need to last a lifetime.  From my experience today observing counseling sessions, it seems like one of the most important parts of the process for each individual is surrounding themselves with people who understand and support their goals. 

     The Weight Loss Institute at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa holds support groups so patients can surround themselves with people who share their situation and understand what they are going through.  Hearing individuals’ excitement about attending these support groups today made me realize how important having support is in bariatric surgery. 

     Attending support groups provides pre-and post surgery patients an excellent opportunity to discuss their various personal and professional issues.  They can ask questions to the group and receive answers in a supportive environment, and know that someone is always there for them for help and support. This someone may either be the clinical team as a whole or another individual going through the same process.

      I feel it is important for patients to know that they are not alone and to feel they have the full support of not only the clinical team but family and friends as well. Lastly, by hearing these personal stories today, I can see that support groups help individuals stay on track and achieve the goals they set for themselves.   Research has shown that support groups help produce a greater level of weight loss success for patients after bariatric surgery. 

     Thank you CHRISTUS Weight Loss Institute for allowing me to be a part of a learning experience I will never forget.  The clinical team at CHRISTUS Weight Loss Institute provides the support that makes it possible for their patients to achieve long-term success.

Written by: Kaitlyn Lynch ARAMARK Dietetic Intern
Reviewed and edited by: Anna Macnak, RD, LD