“Patients experiencing food insecurity are often under stress that can impede their recovery,” said Holly Olivio, DMH clinical nutrition manager. “They’re also at risk for chronic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Providing them with meals and a connection with resources in our community can improve their quality of life.”
The Case Management department at the nonprofit hospital identifies patients who would benefit from the program using a screening tool in the electronic health record. These patients receive a bag filled with two days’ worth of shelf-stable food provided by NECF. The meal kit was approved by DMH dietitians to meet the nutritional needs of patients with general and specialized diets.
The program also connects patients with community resources to help reduce their risk for readmission.
NECF is a nonprofit organization that has served Macon County for more than 50 years, assisting families with basic needs like food, clothing and household goods.
“Access to healthy food is important for everyone, but it’s especially crucial when people are recovering from an illness or injury,” said Angel Lawrence, NECF executive director. “We’re excited to partner with Decatur Memorial Hospital to make sure our local residents get the nutrition they need to regain their health.”
United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois provided funding for the bags.