What is Nutritional Rehabilitation’s purpose?


A: To help people with brain trauma and other complex injuries take control of their injury, improve their nutrition, and break down barriers towards improved health. We want to advocate for the importance of maximizing nutrition for brain healing and neuroplasticity.

What is a Registered Dietitian?


A Registered Dietitian is a regulated health professional specializing in the application of biological science in human nutrition to improve overall health and function. The titles “Registered Dietitian” and “Dietitian” are protected by law, so only qualified practitioners who have met the required education qualifications may use that title.

Registered Dietitians must successfully complete a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in food science and human nutrition, a 12-month accredited dietetic internship, and write the Canadian Dietetic Registration Examination. Only practitioners registered with the College of Dietitians of Ontario may use the letters “RD” after their name. The College of Dietitians of Ontario regulated the profession of dietetics to ensure Registered Dietitians adhere to the legal and professional standards for safe, ethical, and high-quality healthcare.

What is the difference between a Registered Dietitian and a Nutritionist?


A: Education, experience, accreditation, and accountability.

Dietitians must be registered with their respective Provincial Regulatory Body and are accountable to that body for their professional conduct and the quality of care they provide.

Since the title “Nutritionist” is not protected by law, anyone can refer to themselves as a “Nutritionist” regardless of their educational background or experience since they are not accredited by a Provincial Regulatory Body. As such, Nutritionists are not required to adhere to a specific standard of practice nor do they face disciplinary action from a regulatory body for malpractice.

Why are Registered Dietitians an integral part of the rehabilitation team?


A: Proper nutritional behaviour can be considered the hub of the rehabilitation wheel. All other rehabilitation efforts depend on the body’s ability to repair and recover. Improper nutritional behaviour will impede rehabilitation and recovery, essentially delaying any possible improvements in functional abilities. Proper nutritional behaviour will maximize and expedite rehabilitation and recovery, as well as improve overall health and functional abilities.

What impact is Nutritional Rehabilitation hoping to make?


A: To be the expert that someone looks to for help in achieving their goals and breaking down food barriers. We want to help our clients with their plan and give them options in their recovery. We want to pioneer new research in the understanding of brain injuries, relate to nutrition’s role, and bridge the gap in research.  

I have not heard of nutritional rehabilitation, especially with brain injuries. Why is it important to my recovery from injury?A: Without the necessary energy, patients will have a difficult time enduring the demanding physical and cognitive rehabilitation that’s involved in the journey to recover. It’s not only about energy, it’s about the type of energy and nutrition that the patient needs for the personal challenges that they are facing with their specific injury. In addition to healing, proper nutrition can also decrease inflammation and increase the brain’s neuroplasticity.

We are building online programs and advocacy for this discipline, educating other rehab professionals, showing up at conferences, putting up booths, and sharing the breakthroughs as they happen, all to create awareness of the importance of nutritional rehabilitation.

Has anyone in your organization experienced head trauma?


A: Cailee recalls hitting her head in the playground when she was in Grade 5. She tried to shake it off but experienced blurred vision and a terrible headache. She eventually went home and then to the hospital, where she spent a few days.

She suffered a few more concussions in her hockey career, with one in particular standing out. Cailee was hit so hard that one of her nerves was severed that resulted in one side of her face drooping. After each concussion, life just went back to normal as if nothing had happened as research on brain injuries was still sparse.

As time went on though, Cailee noticed memory challenges and other post-concussion symptoms. This is one of the main reasons why she founded Nutritional Rehabilitation: to learn more about brain trauma and to be able to treat and help others who have also experienced trauma.

What do you try to make your clients understand when they first meet with you?


Cailee: “I always work with the client to come up with goals that they want to achieve. I am here for them. I want to work with them and their lifestyle and ensure it can be successful for them. I want to break down the barriers and create solutions! Together, we can stop meals from being overwhelming. We will break it all down and make all of their goals achievable.”

What are some of the biggest obstacles that your clients typically face?


A: They are overwhelmed with consuming consistent meals and snacks, and can have trouble with impulse control because of strong cravings. Sometimes they eat a meal and then want to eat again immediately. Or, meals are skipped due to fatigue, pain, depression or a lack of interest because their tastes have changed or are subdued. They also frequently experience sleep challenges. Proper nutrition can help alleviate all of these symptoms.

I recently had a brain injury, what might some of my symptoms be?


A: Cognitive and physical impairments resulting from an ABI often lead to nutritional concerns.  Unfortunately, proper nutritional behaviour is not usually a priority for individuals with an ABI due to numerous impediments. As a result, you may be experiencing some of these symptoms:
• Lack of satiety
• Taste changes
• Cravings to consume high-sugar sweets or other elevated flavours, just to get a taste
• Headaches
• Cognitive or physical fatigue
• Sleep challenges
• Increased frustration, irritability or anger
• Emotional eating
• Lack of appetite – feeling forced to eat
• Loss of a sense of purpose
• Reduced focus, and a sense of distraction
• Memory loss
• Metabolism changes
• Demanding rehabilitation schedule/medical appointments disrupt routineIndividuals with an ABI already suffer from chronic cognitive difficulties and physical fatigue (activity tolerance); moreover, improper nutritional behaviour will exacerbate these issues, impeding rehabilitation and recovery.

How can a Registered Dietitian help an individual with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)?


A: Individuals with a SCI have increased difficulty with weight management and are at a higher risk of obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. All of these impede rehabilitation and functional outcome. There is also an elevated risk for pressure ulcers. Proper nutrition is an imperative component in preventing pressure ulcers and facilitating proper wound-healing.

What do you love about the team that Nutritional Rehabilitation has built?


A: We have a team of very passionate people! We all have a passion to help others and believe in the power of nutrition and how it impacts our bodies, rehab, and recovery.

Who can you help?


A: Nutritional Rehabilitation we can help anyone with a brain injury, from mild to severe, no matter age, gender, or activity level.

Does Nutritional Rehabilitation Services assist paediatrics?


A: Yes, NRS provides expertise in all facets of nutritional counseling and related concerns or impairments.

What are some examples of appropriate Registered Dietitian referrals?


• Cognitive/fatigue difficulties
• Physical fatigue/poor activity tolerance
• Emotional eating behaviours
• Improper/inconsistent nutritional consumption
• Motivation/initiation/executive skills difficulty with meal preparation
• Poor appetite/lack of enjoyment in foods/forgetting to eat
• Impaired mobility related to increased pain from weight gain
• Impaired sleep related to increased pain from weight gain
• Cardiovascular disease/cholesterol management
• Diabetes/glucose control
• Impaired wound-healing
• Gastro-intestinal complications/irritable bowel syndrome/chronic nausea

Is Nutritional Rehabilitation Services (NRS) registered with HCAI?


A: Yes, NRS has been registered with HCAI since July 2010.

Does NRS complete their own OCF-18’s?


A: Yes, NRS has a thorough understanding of OCF forms and the Assessment/Treatment Plan submission process.