Implementation of Food Security Screening Tool in a Safety Net Clinic

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Eichhorn, Sarah
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Purpose: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to implement and evaluate a screening protocol and intervention management plan related to food insecurity at a safety net primary care clinic in the Midwest.|Background: Food insecurity impacts a large portion of people in the United Stated. Food insecurity impacts 37.2 million Americans. Food insecurity leads to chronic health conditions, increased health care expenses and poor health outcomes. Addressing food security in the primary care setting can have an important impact on health outcomes. Food insecurity most often occurs in households with an income at or below the poverty line.|Sample/Setting: The sample for this quality improvement project was patients across the lifespan at a primary care clinic. The setting was at a safety net clinic in the Midwest. This clinic is located within a community resource center that offers various services. A majority of the patients that use the clinic are uninsured and live near or below the poverty line.|Methods: This is retrospective chart review over 8 weeks to determine patients screened. Providers and student providers were related to Hunger Vital Sign screening tool prior to implementation. The clinic was supplied with resources and educational materials to be used as part of the management plan.|Results: 12 patients were screened for food insecurity at the safety net clinic. 7 patients were considered high risk and education and resources were provided. Patient ages ranged from 19-64 years old. 58.3% of the patients screened were considered food insecure. 66.7% use local/federal resources for access to food.|Conclusion: A food insecurity screening protocol is needed at the safety net clinic in the Midwest. This clinic is attached to a food pantry and patients are still screening high risk. Patients that are high risk for food insecurity need additional education and resources.
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