Dana Stallings doesn’t hesitate when asked what percentage of her patients benefit from referrals to LWell, a team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists with additional specialties led by owner Caroline Fornshell.
That would be “100%,” says Stallings, a nurse practitioner from Bayview Physicians Group, who has referred hundreds of patients over the last five years to LWell.
“I’ve had patients lose weight,” she says. “I’ve had patients who reduce medication. I’ve even had patients who were able to discontinue the use of insulin. They were able to translate the medical nutrition therapy into actual daily practices in their lifestyle.”
Stallings doesn’t turn her patients over to LWell; she partners with the practice that specializes in treating cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, gastrointestinal conditions, inflammatory conditions, polycystic ovarian syndrome and obesity. The bulk of Stallings’ patients suffer from diabetes. While she encourages them to follow the recommended guidelines, ensuring they follow through proved challenging until Bayview Physicians Group partnered with LWell.
LWell’s team of Registered Dietitian-Nutritionists, Certified Laboratory Technologists, Certified Personal Trainers, Certified Specialists in Sports Dietetics and an occupational therapist works one-on-one with patients. Each patient receives an individualized plan rather than the one-size-fits-all information found in multiple well-meaning brochures.
“Chances of them being successful are far greater than if they went home with a packet from the American Diabetes Association,” Stallings says.
Even the most well-intentioned patients struggle without personalized guidance.
“Somebody will look up low calorie, but low calorie doesn’t translate into low carb, and patients think if they’re eating low calorie, it shouldn’t affect their blood sugar,” Stallings says. “There’s so much misinformation out there. And no one comes to see me who’s diabetic only. They have hypertension or hyperlipidemia. They’ve got to watch their sodium intake because they have congestive heart failure. Trying to balance a diabetic diet with a low sodium diet is not something you can figure out on your own.”
That’s why partnering with LWell raises success levels. LWell’s comprehensive approach means the patient isn’t floundering with conflicting input from multiple physicians. Stallings receives regular detailed reports for each referred patient, which keep her in the loop for follow-up visits.
“The accountability factor is huge,” she says.
After the LWell team creates a personalized nutrition treatment plan for each patient accounting for health, preferences and lifestyle, they continue to monitor progress. If modifications are needed, the original plan is altered.
LWell is also convenient. Stallings practices out of Bayview Physicians Group’s Suffolk office. LWell staff travels there weekly to meet with patients in addition to offering telehealth appointments.
The relationships the LWell team forms with patient extends beyond the typical. It starts at the top as Fornshell often shares her cell phone number. She will ask patients to send pictures of the food on their plates.
“I’ve had patients who don’t want to see a dietitian because they haven’t had a good experience; they were given universal guidelines versus individualized ones,” Stallings said. “Being able to identify with patients really helps to buy in their participation.”
The unique LWell model — cost-free for providers — is ideal for continuity of care. Stallings adds, “I would not have the excellent outcomes for the patients in my clinic were it not for the partnership with LWell.”