Partner Spotlight Series: God’s Love We Deliver Partner Spotlight Series: God’s Love We Deliver

Partner Spotlight Detail

Partner Spotlight Series: God’s Love We Deliver

Photo Courtesy of God's Love We Deliver

For over 30 years, God’s Love We Deliver, a nonsectarian, not-for-profit provider, has delivered meals and provided nutritional counseling to those with severe, life-threatening illnesses in New York City.

According to the 2016 Global Nutrition Report, nationally, one in three people are malnourished. God’s Love We Deliver, a not-for-profit community based organization, is hoping to improve these statistics with their medically tailored home-delivered meals for their patients. God’s Love We Deliver began in 1985 by supplying one meal to one man dying of AIDS and has since transformed, currently delivering over 1.5 million meals each year to clients living with over 200 severe, life-threatening illnesses. Each meal is specifically tailored to a client’s illness by one of the seven Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) at God’s Love We Deliver. In addition to tailoring each meal, RDNs stay up-to-date on the latest advances in their field by attending trainings, conferences, and updating practices based on the most reliable and current medical and nutritional research. For example, when research indicated the advantages of whole grains, the RDNs at God’s Love incorporated more whole grain pasta, and whole wheat bread as opposed to refined grains. Along with the RDNs, there are 93 staff members and approximately 10,000 volunteers that help God’s Love We Deliver serve over 6,650 clients every year.

God’s Love Participation in DSRIP Helps Raise Awareness for Nutrition

“Food is Love and Food is Medicine” is often used to describe the impact of God’s Love We Deliver. Karen Pearl, President and CEO stated, “Our main goal is to get food and nutrition services integrated into the delivery model for people living with chronic illnesses. We believe food is medicine and helps people stay in their homes and out of more costly institutions.” This directly relates to the main goal of DSRIP, which is to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations/readmissions by 25%. Karen said, “We see ourselves solidly aligned with all of the reform efforts going on with DSRIP and we are hoping, over time, we will be more successful in getting food and nutrition integrated into healthcare.”

Photo Courtesy of God's Love We Deliver

While God’s Love We Deliver is heavily involved in the community with over 200 partnerships with medical and social services, by becoming part of MSPPS, they discovered an opportunity to share their unique services with a variety of new partners. According to Dorella Walters, Senior Director of Program Services, “We understand that our core competency is providing the best food and nutrition, but we also realize that patients may need other supports in their lives such as housing and medical support. This is where the partnerships are able to provide a solution for our clients due to the referrals that we make.”

God’s Love staff began presenting its ideas to as many project workgroups as possible, with the hope of bringing awareness to the various and wide-spread effects of malnutrition. One of the goals of these presentations was to change the screening process that occurs when a patient is discharged to include screening for malnutrition and discharge with a referral to a nutrition provider if necessary. According to Karen, “If we’re able to change the way healthcare providers screen, we will be able to pick up the clients who are in need of and can benefit from home delivered meals and, in turn, fewer and fewer people will need to be hospitalized.”

The Impact God’s Love has on DSRIP

God’s Love We Deliver’s heavy involvement with DSRIP and MSPPS greatly impacts their relationship with partners. Previously, they presented at the Stakeholder Engagement meeting in April 2016. They since have been featured at both the Mount Sinai Stakeholder Engagement Group as well as during the DSRIP Project Approval and Oversight Panel review, as an example of a successful DSRIP CBO partner. The next goal for God’s Love We Deliver is to present at the Care Coordination Workgroup meeting to educate participants on how their services can help PPS patients be successful in addressing their illnesses and preventing hospitalization. Through presentations to the PPS, God’s Love has been able to demonstrate that their services are integral. For example, when a patient is prescribed a new medication, a medically tailored meal can help a patient better adhere to their medication. Dorella shares, “I think our biggest impact has been to demonstrate that we are a key partner in addressing serious life altering illnesses. The most exciting thing we’ve seen is how Mount Sinai PPS has evolved in its awareness of our key role in the healthcare story. It is very exciting to bridge this gap between the hospital and the community.”

Photo Courtesy of God's Love We Deliver

The Difference of God’s Love We Deliver

God’s Love We Deliver measures its success in numerous ways. The organization sets daily, monthly, and annual measures around numbers of meals, number of clients, distribution, managed-long term care contracts, etc. The organization also conducts focus groups and satisfaction surveys to understand what is changing in their client base and how they need to evolve as an organization. Lastly, they are in the process of developing scientific research projects to prove that their services work. Karen shares, “We’re currently working on a study centered on cancer care and another that focuses on chronic illnesses. Each looks at different outcomes, but both demonstrate the efficacy of our medically tailored model.”

Photo Courtesy of God's Love We Deliver

God’s Love We Deliver also has a robust database that moves throughout the entire organization and is part of its entire operations. Through their tracking system, they are able to measure the needs of each patient and how they can focus on ways to better improve their patients’ health. The data is shared throughout many departments in the organization. For example, once a new patient enrolls in the organization, their dietary restrictions and medical issues are tracked. This informs the kitchen staff on specific meals needed for each individual and informs the meal packaging department on the number of meals an individual needs. Lastly, once the meals are packed, this then helps the delivery department on their route for the day. Dorella says of their tracking process, “As a CBO we are able to share our data and understand the importance of it. We’ve been excited that we’ve been able to leverage our capacity and technologically we are on par with what the PPS needs.”

Metrics and research are not the only ways the CBO measures its success. While the goal of God’s Love is to provide patients with a meal and good nutrition, they’re able to do so in a way that brings people care, friendship, and the love that they might not receive when they are sick. The client connection is essential for the success of this organization. All clients receive unlimited nutrition counseling and education and have the opportunity to call at any time for any questions. According to Karen, “Sometimes people say to us, ‘Why should we use God’s Love meals instead of a for profit company?’ Because you miss the love. You get something at the door, but you don’t get people checking on you and talking to you, and the community that comes with God’s Love. Patient satisfaction is a huge part of health.”

God’s Love We Deliver is able to showcase the importance community based organizations have on the success of DSRIP. Karen said of their success, “I think we’re able to demonstrate to the PPS that they can count on CBOs. The PPS understands in a new way that CBOs, while on a much smaller scale than a hospital, are data driven, focused on health and well-being, natural allies, and that we’re able to reach people and support them.”

For more information on God’s Love We Deliver please click here.