Client Hans

Hans’ Story

Welcome Home

We met Hans in spring 2019 when he was discharged from Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. A former truck driver, Hans has lived and worked in Sonoma County for many years, raising his daughter here as well. Life has had its challenges, but Hans focuses on the positive with an open and gracious attitude.

In January 2019, Hans’ life changed dramatically when he slipped and fell in a puddle of oil at a gas station. At the time he was a smoker and weighed 240 pounds – the hard fall broke his pelvis, requiring complicated surgery. He remained in the intensive care unit for over two weeks and began to lose weight. Although he left the hospital at a healthier weight, his injury left him unable to return to work.

Just three months later, Hans suffered a major heart attack that sent him fighting for his life.

“My cardiologist didn’t think I would make it out of the hospital,” Hans remembers. “And I continued losing weight for about two to three weeks.”

At discharge, Hans’ weight had dropped by 70 pounds. He had no steady income, and while a regular, healthy diet was exactly what he needed, he was unsure how he would secure or prepare wholesome food in his compromised physical condition.

“Sutter gave me phone numbers for both Food For Thought and Meals on Wheels,” Hans explains. “But I didn’t quality for Meals on Wheels because I’m not 60.”

That’s when Hans connected with our Welcome Home program, which fundamentally altered his health and recovery. Part of Food For Thought’s expanded services, Welcome Home provides three months of healthy food to Sonoma County residents who are discharged from a medical facility and are at risk of malnutrition. The program aims to help people recover and reduce hospital readmissions.

But the program offers benefits beyond food and nutrition.

“There were people coming by my house once a week with nutritious food,” Hans remembers. “But it was more than that. During my recovery, one of the difficult parts was loneliness and isolation. And to have these kind people coming by, volunteering their time, and bringing the food by that I dearly needed … it meant the world to me.”

As part of the Welcome Home program, our Registered Dietitian checks in on clients like Hans to assess their progress and answer any questions. Hans has traveled a long road to recovery, but he’s quick to point out that the healthy food he’s received has made a difference: “Now I’m at 175 pounds,” he says, “right where I need to be.”

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