How Medically Tailored Meals Help People With Chronic IllnessReading Time: 3 Minutes
Last Updated: May 1, 2023
At God’s Love We Deliver, we have spent years developing our medically tailored meal (MTM) intervention program, which provides MTMs and nutrition counseling and education. We have studied how MTM intervention impacts individuals who are living with chronic or severe illnesses that prevent them from shopping and cooking for themselves. Good nutrition habits can save lives.
MTMs are tailored to the medical needs of the recipient by a Registered Dietician Nutritionist. They are designed to improve health outcomes, lower cost of care, and increase patient satisfaction. Through our program, MTMs are delivered to people living with severe illness through a referral from a medical professional or healthcare plan.
Consider the case of Kelley, one of our MTM recipients. Kelley spent 10 days in the hospital due to severe pain and exhaustion and was ultimately diagnosed with congestive heart failure. When Kelley came home from the hospital, she was unable to shower, cook, or lift anything, and needed a cane for support. During her recovery, God’s Love We Deliver provided Kelley with MTMs specifically tailored to her needs. Today, Kelley has regained enough strength and energy to graduate from our meal program.
Kelley’s progress illustrates the effectiveness of our MTM program. So many could benefit from improved access to nutrition support and meals that help treat chronic illnesses. God’s Love We Deliver serves people who have one or more of over 200 chronic or life-altering illnesses. These include cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, renal failure, COPD, HIV/AIDS, and more.
What types of MTMs do we serve? For example, clients with:
- End-stage renal disease will receive meals that are lower in phosphorus, potassium, and fluid than what other clients may receive.
- Restrictions on acidic foods will receive milder entrees (such as winter beef stew rather than Beef Bolognese).
- Fish allergies will receive high-quality chicken entrees, such as coconut chicken, in place of fish.
Other medically tailored modifications include low-sugar, low-fat, no dairy or acid-bland, as well as textured modifications such as minced and pureed. We also create specific menus for clients living with certain conditions, such as renal disease and gestational diabetes.
The research demonstrating the effectiveness of MTMs is clear. Access to MTMs can lower healthcare costs and reduce hospitalizations by allowing people to remain in their homes, where they are more comfortable. MTMs play a key role in managing or preventing the onset of costly and pervasive chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, COPD, HIV, and, in many cases, cancer. Meanwhile, Americans spend $3.4 trillion on healthcare costs associated with treating and addressing these types of chronic conditions.
We are at a pivotal moment in the “food is medicine” movement. Last year, the White House convened the second Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. The conference provided a platform to highlight the Food is Medicine Research Action Plan.
We have the power to address chronic illnesses on a large scale, through MTMs and nutrition counseling. We need to listen to the people who deal with illness and champion these programs at both the state and federal levels.
You can also watch actress Jane Krakowski give a tour of God’s Love We Deliver from kitchen to delivery in our video here.
Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.