‘Food Rx’ helps patients improve health through diet

Rebecca R. Ammons

A different type of pharmacy is helping patients get the medicine they need to regain control over their health. Richard Howard recently visited MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital to get healthy recipe ideas from his dietitian. A diabetic, Howard said he never knew the food he was eating was making him sick.”I ate a lot of fast food, processed foods,” Howard said. “I thought that was OK. I didn’t know it was actually detrimental to my health.”For the past three months, he has been enrolled in the “Food Rx” program. It’s like a pharmacy, but what gets dispensed is food education and the actual tools that patients need to get started on a healthier lifestyle.”Food is medicine, and here in this program, we use food as medicine,” said dietitian Angela Roberson, who manages the “Food Rx” program. “(Patients) are provided with enough healthy food to cook meals for themselves and their entire families — 10 meals a week for three to six months,” said Dr. Lucas Carlson, MedStar Health’s regional medical director for care transformation.Qualifying patients are referred through the hospital’s collaborative care program and all meals are delivered directly to a patient’s home.”There are no barriers to transportation,” Carlson said.”If I’m going to recommend that you need to eat a particular way for your health, then I have to be able to support that patient,” Roberson said.It’s support through the learning process. “Food Rx” launched last summer, and Roberson said it’s changing lives.”I’ve seen patients who come directly from hospital admissions (on) high dosage of insulin, really poor nutrition, and I’ve seen (them) in less than six months, off of all diabetes medication,” Roberson said. “I didn’t know just eating right would help you feel better, look better, but now I do,” Howard said.Plans are in the works to expand “Food Rx” to MedStar Harbor Hospital.

A different type of pharmacy is helping patients get the medicine they need to regain control over their health.

Richard Howard recently visited MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital to get healthy recipe ideas from his dietitian. A diabetic, Howard said he never knew the food he was eating was making him sick.

“I ate a lot of fast food, processed foods,” Howard said. “I thought that was OK. I didn’t know it was actually detrimental to my health.”

For the past three months, he has been enrolled in the “Food Rx” program. It’s like a pharmacy, but what gets dispensed is food education and the actual tools that patients need to get started on a healthier lifestyle.

“Food is medicine, and here in this program, we use food as medicine,” said dietitian Angela Roberson, who manages the “Food Rx” program.

“(Patients) are provided with enough healthy food to cook meals for themselves and their entire families — 10 meals a week for three to six months,” said Dr. Lucas Carlson, MedStar Health’s regional medical director for care transformation.

Qualifying patients are referred through the hospital’s collaborative care program and all meals are delivered directly to a patient’s home.

“There are no barriers to transportation,” Carlson said.

“If I’m going to recommend that you need to eat a particular way for your health, then I have to be able to support that patient,” Roberson said.

It’s support through the learning process. “Food Rx” launched last summer, and Roberson said it’s changing lives.

“I’ve seen patients who come directly from hospital admissions (on) high dosage of insulin, really poor nutrition, and I’ve seen (them) in less than six months, off of all diabetes medication,” Roberson said.

“I didn’t know just eating right would help you feel better, look better, but now I do,” Howard said.

Plans are in the works to expand “Food Rx” to MedStar Harbor Hospital.

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