Clients can be defined as individuals, groups, communities, populations or even the public at large. Client-centred services are a key component of the health care system in Ontario and are linked to increased quality and safety, reduced costs, and an improved client experience.
Regardless of the practice setting and intended audience, a focus on providing client-centred services is at the heart of the dietetic profession in Ontario. This is imbedded in several professional requirements, including the Integrated Competencies for Dietetic Education and Practice, the Professional Misconduct Regulation (1991), the Jurisprudence Handbook for Dietitians in Ontario and other relevant legislation impacting dietetic practice.
Client-centred services involve advocacy, empowerment, and respecting the client’s autonomy, voice, self-determination and participation in decision-making. The College of Dietitians of Ontario strongly supports the focus on client-centred practice for providing safe, high-quality dietetic services in all dietetic practice settings.
Within this client-centred culture, the dietetic profession in Ontario emphasizes several values such as:
universal access, human dignity and respect
client responsibility for their own decisions
a focus on client needs and goals
continuity and consistency of services
responsiveness and timeliness
Embedded in these values is a focus on appropriate and effective communication with clients and stakeholders and on providing mechanisms for continuous quality improvement.