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August 29, 2013

It Takes a Village: Strong Partnerships Offer Clients the Best Care

Navigating the healthcare system can be terrifying and stressful if you are seriously ill. Heather Alt, Supervisor of Medical Adherence Nurse Care Managers at Whitman-Walker Health, witnesses this every day. Heather works with patients to determine their barriers to complying with medical orders and then provides them with in-house services or refers them to organizations like Food & Friends.

Whitman-Walker Health is a community partner
that frequently refers clients to Food & Friends
Photo Courtesy: Scott Henrichsen/Whitman-Walker Health
“I’m passionate about making the process easier and making people feel more comfortable when they are already going through a stressful situation,” says Heather. “Our partnership with Food & Friends has been especially strong and truly embodies our goals of helping people feel empowered, supported and advocated for.”

Because our services are based on health-status and nutritional need, clients must be referred to Food & Friends by an area partner. More than 100 medical institutions, social service agencies, hospices, shelters and case managers make up our community of support.

Referring more than 60 patients each year, Whitman-Walker Health is a key partner in our efforts to care for our clients, ease their burden of living with a life-challenging illness and ensure they are receiving well-rounded care. Heather has been proudly referring people to Food & Friends for five years.

“There is so much more to a person than an illness. It does not define them,” says Heather. “Food & Friends treats people for who they are and makes their situation a little bit easier. This is a powerful gift.” 

Our partnership does not end once referral agencies fill out the paper­work. This collaborative network is essential to each client’s overall well-being and expands their circle of support. Through home deliveries, our staff and volunteers are frequent observers into our clients’ lives. We are the eyes and the ears for our partners, keeping them informed of the ongoing status of their client’s health and living situation.

“Many times it is difficult for us to reach a client,” says Heather. “Since Food & Friends has frequent contact with our clients, they are able to keep communication lines open and inform us on the status of the client.”

Together, Food & Friends, Whitman-Walker Health and our other partners provide a strong support network that works to meet the individual needs of each client and their families.

“I am so happy that Whitman-Walker Health and Food & Friends have this formal partnership – our community is better for it."


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