Prescription For Health
Prescription For Health: Every patient is assigned a Care Team, which develops an individualized plan that meets all of the patient’s medical, dental, visual, behavioral health, and social needs. The prescription emphasizes prevention, stress reduction and positive behaviors which promote a culture of wellness. Using this approach, we seek to keep patients from developing chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity and help patients with existing chronic illnesses to develop self-management skills enabling them to avoid health crises that would result in Emergency Department visits or hospitalizations. Prescriptions may include referral to any of the following services:
Nutrition: Our registered dietitians (RD) offer comprehensive nutritional assessments and counseling to meet each individual’s nutritional needs. With special attention to maintaining overall health and managing health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, the RDs work closely with patients, families and the team of health care providers to develop a personalized nutrition plan for each patient.
Food Access Programs: Almost 50% of Whittier’s patients are plagued with food insecurity and hunger. Whittier’s patients struggle with food insecurity due to poverty and difficulty getting to supermarkets. Cheap, unhealthy foods from fast food outlets and convenience stores are more easily available. Processed foods far outnumber fresh fruit and vegetables. To respond to the high level of food insecurity and the service area as a food desert, we recently began screening our patients for food insecurity and refer about half our patients to food access programs including:
- WIC Nutrition Program – We have a WIC office on-site at our Tremont Street Center and WIC staff visit Whittier @Quincy Commons twice per week
- Fairfoods, a food recovery program – Throughout the year, patients can obtain a large bag of produce for only $2.
- WSHC Community Garden – On Thursdays throughout the growing season, patients may attend our Garden Club from 10-11 a.m. and receive a free bag of freshly harvested produce.
- Teaching Kitchen: a teaching kitchen is located on the second floor next to Whittier’s Community Education Room and Group Rooms so registered dieticians can host cooking classes and cooking demonstrations for patients in all of our Wellness Programs, Healthy Weight and Chronic Disease Management programs.
- Also on Thursdays, Fresh Truck mobile market comes to Whittier from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They accept food stamp/EBT benefits, and offer immediate reimbursement.
- Food Pantry: The goal of our Food Pantry program, which was launched in 2018, is to provide a reliable and accessible food and nutrition services that decreases food insecurity, promotes healthy diet and healthy families. Patients during their doctor’s visit will be screened for referral to the EFP, using the BMC THRIVE tool. Patients who are determined to be eligible will receive a Prescription for Groceries and are limited to receive food once monthly. Each bag will include groceries with items from each food group and meet USDA standards. Families will also receive information on nutrition, as well as on neighborhood Food Banks.