Bayhealth, Food Bank partner to meet staff, patient needs
April 14, 2023
The Food Bank of Delaware and Bayhealth joined to provide food boxes for patients and staff dealing with food insecurity. “We really became aware of the need and joined forces during COVID,” said Bayhealth’s Volunteer Service Manager Carrie Hart.
She cited a recent experience with two patients, a father and his son who is a person with intellectual disabilities. In planning their discharge, their social worker learned they had no food at home. “Food is an integral part of health, and many of our patients need a low sodium, low sugar diet,” Hart explained.
“Food security is a social determinant of health,” she noted, “and typically in the top two.” Bayhealth’s Clinical Integration and Health Equity Senior Manager Tasheema Heyliger stated that finances, food, housing, transportation, and support have been identified as social determinants of health.
Members of Bayhealth’s clinical integration team also recognized that staff are unable to leave work to pick up food at a food closet, so in February Bayhealth joined forces with the Food Bank to provide supplemental food boxes on site, including for those in off-campus locations.
“We respond to requests within two business days,” said Hart, noting that in the first two weeks the program served 10 staff. “Our staff also face challenges. One person’s daughter was in prison, and the food box allowed her to have Christmas. They respond with such gratitude. It’s very humbling.”
Meanwhile, Bayhealth continues to further examine the needs of inpatients – such as the father and son — at the time of discharge, as well as outpatients receiving oncology services. Patients identified by nurses upon admission as people who need long-term support are referred to Unite Delaware for care management. Unite Delaware – an umbrella agency which Bayhealth and the Food Bank are active members – addresses social determinants of health.
“This program has been very utilized,” Hart said. “We don’t always realize what people are going through.”