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Ideas That Work: Food Staples Sustain Recoveries
Practical pearls from your colleagues
Publish Date: November 11, 2022   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work Patient Experience
PARTING GIFT Brian Doyle and Lorrie Soule prepare grocery bags for patients who indicated that having enough food is often a struggle.

When patients are screened for procedures at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, nurses ask if they’ve recently run out of food before they had money to buy more, or if they’ve been worried about that possibility. When patients indicate food insecurity is an issue, be it occasionally or all the time, the medical center’s kitchen staff puts together grocery bags containing the four basic food groups — a bag typically contains items such as fruit juices, canned tuna, peanut butter, pasta, grains and bread — and gives them to the patients upon discharge. The bags also contain information sheets that list local nutrition assistance programs, free summer meals programs for kids, food pantries and soup kitchens, and info about farmers markets. Perioperative Nurse Director Janice Nichols, MSN, RN, CNML, says the patients are surprised and grateful for the food, which is framed as a way to provide them with the nutrients they need to help with their post-surgical healing process. OSM