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Medically tailored meals pilot at Bridgeport Hospital targets food insecurity

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

BRIDGEPORT, CT (July 13, 2021) – Bridgeport Hospital launched the pilot of its medically tailored meals program on June 24. The two-month trial provides lunch and dinner seven days a week to a select group of patients in the hospital’s Primary Care Center (PCC) Complex Care Program. The program manages patients with multiple medical and social challenges that put them at risk for frequent hospitalization.

“Access to healthy meal options and nutritional information contribute significantly to managing simultaneous conditions that put patients at risk for prolonged illness and hospitalization.” said Manisha Gupta, MD, medical director of the PCC.

Funding for the pilot comes from the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation. “The foundation is pleased to partner with Dr. Gupta to make this pilot possible,” said Steve Jakab, foundation president. “We have a long history of supporting the community and the PCC. It is important to fund and evaluate the effectiveness of novel or different approaches to care for our patients.”

Meals are chosen from the hospital’s inpatient menu with assistance from Kelly Gruber, outpatient registered dietitian, and Sarah Lombino, clinical nutrition manager. Nutrition information and allergy precautions are tracked to meet each patient’s needs while allowing them to choose from over 50 options.

"This program has been a saving grace for our patients struggling with food insecurities and only able to afford food options that do not help with their diabetes or hypertension," said Diana Paolino, RN, complex care team/nurse care coordinator in the Bridgeport Hospital Primary Care Center.

“All patients have been raving about how great the food is,” added Nicole Guillory, Food and Nutrition manager. “Most have reported improvements in controlling their blood sugar and one of those with a history of low blood sugar and fainting reported no blood sugar levels under 80 since starting meal delivery. Two others said this is the healthiest they’ve eaten in quite some time.”

“Nutrition plays such an important role in promoting health and preventing disease throughout our lives,” adds Mary Angelucci, RN, manager of Care Coordination in the primary care center. “We are excited to see how access to fresh and healthy foods will contribute to better eating habits and positive health outcomes for this group of patients.”

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community. www.bridgeporthospital.org

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