In 2018, HCR ManorCare became part of ProMedica, a not-for-profit, mission-based health and well-being organization. This merger opened the way for ProMedica to address food insecurity for skilled nursing and rehabilitation patients. As part of the merger, HCR ManorCare also changed its name to ProMedica Senior Care.
ProMedica Senior Care piloted the Meals-to-Go program in April 2019 in their Detroit area skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities (SNFs). This program provides patients discharging home with two shelf stable, pre-packaged meals. When a patient is admitted to a hospital and then a skilled nursing facility, they can be away from home for several weeks. Any food the patient previously had at home could be spoiled or non-existent. The meals-to-go patients receive can help tide them over until they can get to the store, their support system is able to bring them food or a third-party can deliver meals.
The Meals-to-Go program was expanded to the rest of the Michigan SNFs and then into California in October of 2019. This year, ProMedica Senior Care has plans to roll this program out to more centers across the country.
In addition to the Meals-to-Go inception, last year Heartland of Dublin near Columbus, Ohio began a partnership with the Dublin Food Pantry to help address food insecurities within the center’s community. The Dublin Food Pantry was looking to expand hours to better serve the community and to be able to reach the senior population that were in need. Heartland of Dublin has access to the senior population and saw an opportunity to partner with the food pantry to help their SNF patients return home with healthy food options. Heartland of Dublin became a satellite pantry location on the last Saturday of every month for community members to access fresh produce, personal care items and a box of non-perishable food. This satellite pantry at Heartland of Dublin not only benefited the community but was also able to help an average of 14 employees who were in need receive fresh produce on a monthly basis.
The center also created a program where they were able to send 19 patients home with a box of food. Inside these boxes of food is additional information about how to access services at the food pantry. If the patient is home bound, they can request a proxy to come and shop on their behalf. The social workers at Heartland of Dublin have also been equipped to screen patients who may qualify for the Dublin Food Pantry services on a monthly basis. Nearby sister center, Heartland of Westerville, also launched a similar program and gave out 27 boxes of food that are diet specific for their patients discharging back home.
The partnership between Heartland of Dublin and the Dublin Food Pantry has been so successful, that Heartland has reached out to other area pantries to create similar programs. Currently, Heartland of Westerville is starting to work with Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM) on educational programs with the WARM Food Pantry that will help individuals learn how to live healthy lifestyles on a budget.