Children’s HealthWatch was featured in a US News & World Report article on how health care organizations are addressing hunger among patients.
Some Hospitals Prescribe Food, Take Other Steps to Fight Food Insecurity
At Boston Medical Center, physicians write prescriptions for food when patients don’t have enough to eat. Doctors in the center’s emergency department and more than 20 clinics screen all patients for hunger, writing those who struggle to feed themselves a script to the on-site Preventive Food Pantry. They write a lot of food prescriptions – enough to keep the food pharmacy serving 7,000 people each month.
“It’s impossible to separate children’s health and their nourishment,” observes Dr. Patrick Casey, a pediatrician and director of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Growth & Development Clinic. As part of a research project with Children’s Health Watch, Casey has surveyed since the late 1990s the impact of food insecurity on families visiting the hospital’s emergency department. In 2008, the rate doubled so that 20 percent of families were food insecure. That has grown to nearly 28 percent, he says.
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