Hospital readmissions affect one in six Medicare patients released following medical care and one in eight patients following surgery. It is estimated that these readmissions cost more than 17 billion US dollars. The leading causes of hospital readmission for people include the incapability to prepare their own meals after discharge, lack of transportation, living in a food “desert” and the inability to afford healthy options. They often eat food with low nutritional value, such as fast food, because it’s easy and cheap or just don’t eat at all. If they had better nutrition post-treatment, they could continue their healing journey, regain their strength, recover better and avoid return trips to the hospital.
Post-discharge meals ensure patients continue to receive proper nutrition once they leave the hospital. This is especially key for patients suffering from a chronic condition, which puts them at risk for malnutrition. Patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease may require a diet low in sugar, fat, sodium or cholesterol. Post-discharge meals are equally important to individuals who simply cannot prepare meals for themselves or whose caretakers don’t know how to fulfill their nutritional needs, as well as those who are food insecure.
- Participants who received access to food after being released from the hospital experienced lower emergency department (ED) visits, inpatient admissions and uses of emergency transportation. — Health Affairs
- Malnourished patients are over two times more likely than well-nourished patients to be readmitted to the hospital. — American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
- In a pilot study, post-discharge meals were shown to reduce hospital readmissions by 39%. — Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services