Over the last 10 years, many major employers in the Oxford Hills region have closed, the manufactured housing industry largely disappeared, and unemployment and underemployment is high. The downturn is severely impacting families already at the low end of state income averages. Fully 12% of Oxford County residents live in poverty (US Census) and more than 60% of children receive free or reduced lunch (ME Dept. Education).
Growing numbers of people are experiencing food insecurity. In response, we started our soup kitchen in 2008. Food insecurity is especially detrimental to recently discharged patients recovering from surgery, chronic disease or other impairments. Eric Coleman, professor of medicine and head of the Division of Health Care Policy and Research at the University of Colorado says, “the role of nutrition is likely entangled with chronic illness, frailty, [and] socioeconomic status.” It’s estimated that one-third of patients are malnourished upon hospital admission and another one-third will become so while hospitalized (Hospitals & Health Networks).
After discharge, many patients experience fatigue, loss of appetite, and lack of mobility, resulting in nutritionally inadequate meals or no meals at all. Under-nutrition negatively affects patient outcomes, drives up overall health care costs and plays a role in increased hospital re-admission rates. Care transitions in rural areas rarely include nutrition management, although it is widely acknowledged as a significant unmet need.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Feel Better Food program? Feel Better Food is a home meal delivery program to assist patients with the recovery process.
Who qualifies for the program? Patients who may be at risk for malnutrition upon discharge from either the hospital or rehabilitation facility.
I had same day surgery, do I qualify for the program? Yes, if you meet the criteria for the program. The criteria centers around risk of malnutrition and need for assistance / inability to shop for and prepare meals.
Does a patient need to be homebound? A patient does not need to be homebound; however, there does need to be clear need mentioned above.
Is there a cost, age or income limits? There is no cost. There are no age limits. There are no income limits.
Can patients self-refer? Patients cannot self-refer. All referrals must be made by a medical provider, which can be a specialty provider, hospital, rehab, or primary care provider.
Where can my doctor find a referral? HERE
My doctor has submitted my referral, what can I expect next? Once we receive the referral, a staff member will contact you to set up a time to meet and discuss your dietary needs.
How many meals are provided? Seven meals per week are delivered to your home. The meals are home cooked and delivered on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Tuesday you will receive 3 meals (for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and on Friday you will receive 4 meals (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday).
What do the meals look like? Here is an example of a Friday delivery. There are 4 meals included in this picture.
Do I need any special appliances in my kitchen? You will need a refrigerator and microwave. If you do not have a refrigerator and/or microwave let the staff member know when you discuss your dietary needs.
Are there instructions that come with reheating each meal? Yes, on the lid there are very basic microwave instructions. See picture below.
How long can I be in the program? A maximum period of four weeks.
What happens if I’m still not able to cook for myself after the 4 weeks? A Feel Better Foods staff member will contact you about making alternative arrangements, such as Meals on Wheels.
What if I don’t want to be in the program for the full four weeks? Contact Feel Better Food at 207.890.5721 and let the staff member know you wish to be discharged from the program.
Where do the meals come from? The meals are prepared at The Progress Center Community Kitchen.
Where can I find out more about The Progress Center Community Kitchen? HERE
Are the meals available for purchase? No, Feel Better Food meals are only for qualified patients with referrals.
I normally do the cooking and now I’m worried about the other people in my house, can Feel Better Food provide for them too? We will provide meals for family members, if they are unable to prepare meals for themselves.
There are certain foods I’m not allergic to but just don’t like, will that affect the meals provided to me? Let the staff member know your likes and dislikes when you discuss your dietary needs. All your information will be taken into consideration when our kitchen prepares your meals.
Do you have further questions? Please contact Feel Better Food at 207-890-5721.