For the last few months, postpartum nurses at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) who care for new parents in the hospital’s Silverstein 8 unit have asked a few extra questions about food.
So far, at least a few patients per week have screened “positive” for food insecurity — defined as not having access to enough food to stay healthy — and accepted a bag from the hospital’s food pantry. In one case, a mother of six receiving public assistance said that she was managing fine, but the food would be helpful. Another was a professional-looking couple that the nurse wouldn’t have guessed could use some extra groceries.
The new postpartum pilot program is just one way that the hospital’s food pantry is expanding from a pop-up pandemic relief effort into a sustainable, broad-reaching program to help the community. The ultimate vision is to help all patients who are experiencing food insecurity.
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