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Believe in Better: Spring 2021 Newsletter

By May 11, 2021 Blog

Donors Make Essential Wrap-Around Care Possible — Even During A Pandemic

Serving vulnerable people is even more challenging during a pandemic, yet more vital. While HOPES is a “healthcare” organization, we recognize that a person’s health reflects far more than their medical needs and because of your incredible support, we know you do too. Research shows that healthcare contributes a mere 20% to overall health. The other factors can be far harder to treat including:

Socioeconomic – 40%
Physical environment – 10%
Health behaviors – 30%

It’s one thing to recognize that diverse factors affect health; it’s another to effectively address them. Because of our forward-thinking and generous donors like you, HOPES has always been able to adapt to our community’s changing needs – and no change has been as impactful as COVID-19. The pandemic has had a profound impact on our patients’ health and our ability to support them. Yet because of your support, we’ve been able to adapt, transitioning to telehealth visits, providing on-site COVID-19 testing, and finding alternate ways to provide essential services, like food support.

32% of all patients seen at HOPES between March 1 and December 31, 2020 received food support through HOPES.

With COVID-induced job loss, lack of school-supplied meals, unpredictable unemployment payments, and policy changes that pushed many off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), too many in our community don’t know where their next meal is coming from. With your help, your HOPES team is here for them. Thanks to you, HOPES has continued to support our patients throughout the trials of this past year. The COVID-19 Response Spring Donor Campaign raised $15,816, plus a matching gift of $25,000, providing $40,816 for essential medical and wrap-around services to Northern Nevada’s most vulnerable, overlooked and underserved individuals.

Nutrition Services — More Than Diet Plans

When you give to HOPES, you are connecting patients with all the services they may need, no matter which concern brought them through the doors. Nutrition Integration – the process of incorporating nutrition guidance into primary care – is a key component of this wraparound care and your support helps ensure this service can continue to be offered.

For example, in a recent visit Frank learned from his primary care provider his blood work revealed he had high cholesterol leading the provider to recommend meeting with a registered dietitian. Instead of referring him to another “specialist,” a Community Health Worker came into the exam room and scheduled a Nutrition Services appointment on the spot. This seamless process improves health outcomes and increases access to the care our patients need to maintain wellness.

Our nutrition staff works hard to meet patients where they are, respecting cultural food needs and encouraging goal setting. It’s common for conversations about nutrition to reveal a lack of food in the home, that prescriptions aren’t being filled because of cost, or untreated mental health issues. “I’ve had a number of people who are struggling with their weight — especially during the pandemic — and by talking, we realize it’s related to depression or anxiety,” explains HOPES Registered Dietitian Kate Ault. “Thankfully, HOPES’ incredible donors help ensure we can provide support for all these social determinants of health.”

In 2020, nutrition services saw 413 patients, 51% of them Spanish-speaking.

Losing Weight and Gaining Hope – One Patient’s Health Journey

Riley has benefited greatly from HOPES nutrition education.

When Riley first started meeting with HOPES Registered Dietitian Kate Ault, she was overweight, depressed, and feeling discouraged about her future. Four months later and 70 pounds lighter, Riley is full of hope and praise for her HOPES care team.

“I feel a lot better because I’ve lost a lot of weight. I feel better mentally too,” explains Riley, “Now that I’ve been shown that I can lose weight effectively, I feel a lot more encouraged to keep doing it. I am looking forward to the future rather than dreading it.”

Kate taught Riley a variety of weight management skills, including how to assess a nutrition label, proper portion size, meal timing, and how to identify healthy foods. “Kate is really friendly,” says Riley. “I like talking to her and really enjoyed our appointments because she is nice and knowledgeable. I would ask her specific questions, and we would just talk because I think nutrition is really interesting.”

In addition to nutrition services, Riley also uses HOPES primary care services, on-site lab services, and transgender care. She appreciates all the HOPES providers and staff and feels welcomed by them.

“I really like the environment — it makes me feel comfortable,” she says. “In the general public, I can feel uncomfortable easily, but when I go to HOPES, I don’t feel judged or anything.”

Your gifts enable HOPES to serve people like RiIey – underserved by traditional medical facilities – with kindness, respect and compassion. When you give to HOPES, you not only support quality health care for people like Riley, you give them hope.

Partnerships Help Serve Up Good Nutrition

Food resources at Hope Springs: At Hope Springs, our region’s first bridge-housing community conceived by HOPES and built with generous donor support, residents will have access to wrap-around on-site services, including food support and cooking classes. The Food Bank will donate community food, and HOPES will purchase food at reduced prices. HOPES has also partnered with Urban Roots — a non-profit striving to change the way communities eat and learn through garden-based education—to teach residents how to plant and maintain a food garden.

Food Bank at HOPES: The Food Bank of Northern Nevada distributes food to low income individuals and HOPES patients in our parking lot which helps reduce barriers to food access. While paused in March 2020 due to COVID-19, we are continuously working with the Food Bank to determine the best and safest time to return the Food Bank distribution to the HOPES campus.

Dr. Frank poses with the fruit trees he donated to the Hope Springs campus.

Donor Ensures Good Health Can Take Root

Thanks to the support of HOPES donor Dr. Barry Frank, the residents of Hope Springs will be able to grow their own fresh, nutritious fruit. Dr. Frank donated six fruit trees to the Hope Springs campus.

Help Feed a Hope Springs Resident
You can donate to HOPES on our website and specify that your gift be used for grocery store gift cards. These gifts will enable our Hope Springs residents to learn how to shop, nourish themselves with independence and dignity, a
particularly empowering form of food support. Visit nnhopes.org/hopesprings/givemeals to give.