Pandemic Food Response in Primary Care to Minimize Exposure for Elderly Food Insecure Population


  • Kristina M. Bridges, Ph.D. University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Jennifer Woodward, M.D., MPH Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Megan Murray, MHSA
  • Emma Mumm, LCSW
  • K. Allen Greiner, M.D., MPH



Food insecurity, Pandemic, COVID-19, Food Delivery


Introduction. Stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged individuals, especially the elderly, to stock up on food and supplies and remain home to limit exposure to the SARS-CoV-2virus. However, individuals with food insecurity may only be able to afford a few days of food at a time, causing frequent outings to obtain food. An emergency food delivery system decreases the need for frequent outings.

Methods. Primary care patients over 65 years with previously reported food insecurity were screened for referral to a community food delivery program. We conducted a cross-sectional secondary analysis of screening and referral data.

Results. For 76.7% of study participants, estimated monthly outings to obtain food exceeded the recommended stay-at-home guidelines. In our population, 64.7% reported current food need, 46.7% reported <2 days of food, 93.5% reported receiving home food delivery would keep them from going out, and 37.7% of contacted patients received a food delivery.

Conclusions. Targeted screening and referral for food delivery may reduce the need for patients experiencing food insecurity to leave home during a pandemic or other disaster, potentially decreasing community exposure for a high-risk population. Primary care practices can utilize previously collected food insecurity and other social determinants of health data to identify and assist high-risk patients in a pandemic.




How to Cite

Bridges, K., Woodward, J., Murray, M. ., Mumm, E., & Greiner, K. A. (2022). Pandemic Food Response in Primary Care to Minimize Exposure for Elderly Food Insecure Population. Kansas Journal of Medicine, 15(2), 148–154.



Original Research