June 29, 2015
THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE
MANNA’s clients are referred to us by a variety of sources. While in treatment for a life-threatening illness, a client’s doctor, dietitian, or other medical professional completes a simple referral form that includes information such as the diagnosis, weight, lab test results, and a few other key items. MANNA’s Registered Dietitians then speak with both the medical professional and the individual to confirm eligibility, provide nutrition counseling, and schedule the first meal delivery. Clients are initially enrolled in the meal program for a six month period, as our medically tailored meals are meant to be a temporary support to improve our clients’ health and empower them to fight their illness. As the end of their service period approaches, our Dietitians ensure that the client has become nutritionally stable before discharging them from the program. Depending on their condition, the Dietitian may recertify the client, extending the service until they achieve optimal nutritional health.
While the goal at MANNA is for clients to remain happy and healthy long after their experience on our meal program, we understand it can be difficult to deal with an illness without support. That’s why, as a part of our discharge protocol, we work to connect our clients with resources they may need. Former clients are always welcome to take advantage of the same free Nutrition Counseling Services they use while on the meal program. They are also given access to other local organizations that can assist them with both medical needs and food insecurity issues.
Resources such as the Greater Philadelphia AIDS Resource Guide, the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, and PhillyFoodFinder.org, a recently launched website that serves as a hub for anti-hunger locations (i.e. a searchable map for summer meals, farmers markets, food pantries, SHARE host sites, soup kitchens, etc.) are just some of those who support MANNA’s clients’ needs. In addition, we are currently evaluating options for moving to electronic medical records so that we have the most comprehensive information available to our clients and their care providers. Nothing makes us happier than when clients are healthy enough to leave our program, except maybe knowing that we will never leave them.