Website spotlight: As the diet wheel turns, errors decrease

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 18, 2011

In July 2008, a diabetic patient at Methodist LeBonheur Germantown (TN) Hospital looked down at his plate of concentrated sweets.

Danielle Sharp, RN, walked into the patient's room and noticed him eating the wrong meal, which could cause his sugars to skyrocket. It had happened frequently, and Sharp was fed up.

"That was it—enough was enough. We had to do something about it," she says. 
The patient was admitted to Methodist with hyperglycemia, and because he was frequently served the wrong food, staff had trouble educating him about appropriate food choices for his diabetic condition.

Enter clinical directors Ptosha Jackson, RN, MSN, and Bea Allen, RN, MSN. The duo put their heads together and came up with an innovative solution to dietary errors like the one caught by Sharp: the diet wheel. The goal of the bright pink wheels—located on patients' doors in four of the hospital's units—is to ensure that physician orders are implemented and that patients receive the meals designed specifically for them and their current conditions.

"So far, it's not 100% error free, but it has eliminated many errors," says Allen. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic foundation devoted to improving health and healthcare, recognized the diet wheel as a "Promising Practice From the Field," and extensive inventory of promising practices that have been implemented or developed across the country.

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