Posts By: Abigail Storiale

Dodge Diabetes

 

One in three American adults has prediabetes. Do you know if you’re one of them?

Prediabetes means a person’s blood glucose level is higher than normal, but not high enough yet for the person to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. However, if left untreated, this condition can progress to type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and the loss of toes, feet or legs.

Prediabetes also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed through lifestyle changes including healthy eating choices and physical activity. These changes and the resulting weight loss can cut your risk of getting type 2 diabetes in half.

If you don’t know whether or not you are one of the 86 million American adults living with prediabetes, you aren’t alone. Nine out of 10 people with prediabetes don’t know they have it.

Take this test to find out if you’re at risk:

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/pdf/Prediabetes-Risk-Test-Final.pdf

If you are indeed at risk, consider joining VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice for our yearlong program, Dodge Diabetes, which will begin Tuesday, March 3.

Dodge Diabetes focuses on education and lifestyle changes to help reduce the chances of developing diabetes. Participants will learn how to make healthy food choices, add physical activity into their day, cope with stress, handle obstacles and overcome barriers to stay on track or get back on track when needed, track progress, stay motivated and set goals.

The program is based on the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s Prevent T2, a successful, evidence-based lifestyle change program. Prevent T2 is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program.

A total of 26 classes will be held throughout the next year on Tuesdays 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Wellness Center of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice’s Guilford office. For the first four months, the class meets every week, then every other week, and then once a month during the last half of the year.

Contact Kathleen Eagle at 203.458.4284. or email to learn more.

More information you can use:
CDC information on Prediabetes

CDC information on Diabetes

Agency receives Patient and Family Satisfaction Award

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice recently received Fazzi’s 2019 Patient and Family Satisfaction Award of Distinction.

The awards are determined in the home healthcare and hospice fields by the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) – a set of surveys that asks patients to report on their experiences.

VNACHCH received an overall rating of hospice care of 96 percent, higher than the national average of 85 percent and the state average of 88 percent. The agency saw high responses in all survey categories, including communication, timeliness of care and information continuity. Of those surveyed, 96 percent responded that family members were always treated with dignity and respect, and 93 percent said they were never confused by information provided by the hospice team.

With respect to symptom management, 85 percent of respondents said their loved one got as much help with pain as needed and zero clients responded that they did not feel the received adequate help with pain management. In terms of emotional support, 93 percent of families said the emotional support during the hospice experience was what they needed, and 89 percent said the same of their emotional support after their loved one died.

The HHCAHPS and Hospice CAHPS Top 25 award is presented annually to organizations that subscribe to Fazzi’s Patient and Family Satisfaction Services and have demonstrated superior performance in overall satisfaction results, according to information from Fazzi, which is a national consulting, education, revenue cycle and best practice research firm that specializes in the home health and hospice industry.

VHA Community Healthcare & Hospice was recognized among the top 25 percent nationally of best practice agencies in Fazzi’s database, based on a comparative analysis of overall satisfaction.

“They are proven leaders that have excelled in one of the most important measures of an agency’s quality program – patient and family satisfaction,” the Fazzi announcement of top agencies reads. “We are incredibly proud of these agencies’ significant accomplishments and pleased to be their partner in one of the most important quality initiatives.”

VNACHCH named Top 500 agency

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice has been named a Top 500 Agency nationally in the 2019 HomeCare Elite®, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. For 14 years, HomeCare Elite, a market-leading review, has annually identified the top 25 percent of Medicare-certified agencies and highlighted the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, which is based in Guilford with an office in Hamden, was named a top agency for the sixth time and a top 500 agency for the first time with this most recent recognition.

The ranking is developed by ABILITY® Network, a leading information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare; and sponsored by DecisionHealth, publisher of Home Health Line and the Complete Home Health ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Coding Manual.

The rating is based on performance measures, including quality of care, quality improvement, patient experience, best practices implementation and financial management – all data taken from publicly available information.

Janine Fay, president and CEO of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, credits the staff and a commitment to high-quality care and the betterment of health and wellness in the community with the agency’s ability to achieve recognition as one of the HomeCare Elite.

“For more than a century, our agency has been dedicated to providing healthcare at home. Whether we are caring directly for our patients, supporting families through our Caregiver Support Network, or reaching out to the community through our various health and wellness programs, we are devoted to our mission to be beside individuals at every turn on their healthcare journey,” Fay said.

In order to be considered, HomeCare Elite agencies must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least three outcomes in Home Health Compare.

Annual Report 2019

At VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, we are the face of home healthcare.

In an effort to share the stories of who we are, what we do, and why we remain committed to our mission, VNACHCH shares testimonials from staff members, caregivers, volunteers and patients in our latest annual report – complete with statistics about the care we provide and number of individuals we help on a yearly basis.

Caregivers Denise Brouillard and Patty McGuire share thoughts on the hospice care their loved ones received and the way their lives were impacted through this service. Our staff – ranging from members of our intake staff and community health staff to our field workers in nursing and therapy – share their perspective on their daily operations and the unique touch they bring to time with patients.

Within this report, as always, we thank our many donors who support our nonprofit efforts to help individuals facing a healthcare crisis remain at home, and to improve the health and wellness of the community at large.

We also celebrate the work of our affiliates, including Strong House Adult Day Center, which celebrated 25 years in 2019.

Our focus in the year ahead is to not only continue to provide compassion and care of the highest quality to our home healthcare patients, but also to grow our wellness offerings in the community and to increase our ability to grant the wishes of hospice patients.

“When you have healthcare challenges, we can help you face them,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice CEO Janine Fay. “We are members of your community who you can trust to help you stay the course when life takes an unexpected turn. We are devoted to our work and always grateful for the support we receive.”

To view the annual report, click here: VNA_AR19

To learn more about ways to give to VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, click here. 

#GivingTuesday event Dec. 3

Click here to register for our event.  Click here to make a donation!

Help us warm up the giving season

What if the whole world came together one day a year to make a difference? What would you want to make possible?

The staff, board members and volunteers of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice want to help every person in the communities we serve to stay out of the hospital and at home, where they want to be, while facing a healthcare crisis. Whether someone is recovering from illness or surgery, living with a chronic condition, or facing the end of their life, we want to be beside them each step of the way. We want to be beside their loved ones and caregivers to offer support and resources. We want to provide wellness opportunities, education and advice to members of the community through clinics and classes.

At VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, we are the face of home healthcare and this #GivingTuesday we are asking for your help.

Now entering its eighth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving and local nonprofit VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is excited to be part of the movement.

Celebrated nationwide on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday has become known as the day that launches the giving season.

Tickets are now available for VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice’s #GivingTuesday event, set for Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, located at 5 Indian Neck Ave.

Each $20 ticket to the event includes food catered by La Cuisine, a beer ticket, entertainment, a raffle and silent auction and the opportunity to network with fellow community members. The first 150 registered guests will receive a commemorative seasonal gift.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is a nonprofit devoted to being beside home healthcare patients, their families and the community at every turn. Each year, the agency helps thousands of people remain at home through all stages of their healthcare journey, from beginning to end.

“All donations raised at the #GivingTuesday event will allow us to take this journey with the people we serve throughout New Haven and Middlesex Counties, and help them live life to the fullest,” said Janine Fay, President & CEO of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice. “Help us warm up the giving season by giving to our effort to keep as many people as possible home for the holidays.”

Shore Publishing and Zip06 is proud to be the official Media Sponsor for this event. Other sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit bit.ly/VNAGivingSeason to register for the event, bit.ly/VNAGiveTues if you can’t attend but would like to give, or contact Abigail Storiale at 203.458.4277 or astoriale@vna-commh.org for sponsorship opportunities.

 

A huge thank you to the sponsors that have come on board!

Presenting sponsor:

 

 

Food generously donated by:

 

Gold sponsors:

           

 

                        

 

 

Supporting sponsors:

                           

 

                                        

 

                 

 

Printing sponsor:

 

Media sponsor:

Shore Publishing

Starting the hospice conversation

Tips for Caregivers

No one is ever fully prepared to have a conversation about death. It’s sad and difficult for loved ones of a person reaching the end-of-life as well as for that person’s physician who has been focused on helping that person recover or improve.

No one wants to hear, “There is nothing more that can be done,” and with hospice as an option that statement is never true. A cure might not be possible, but it’s important each individual faced with that reality know that there is still more life ahead.

The best thing for the people we love is for them to have the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible – and when a cure is no longer possible, hospice is available to offer care and support.

At VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, we offer symptom management while also supporting the social and spiritual needs of people helping them to live their best possible lives in the time remaining.

The best way to broach the topic of hospice with a loved one is to put all the cards on the table and have an honest discussion about the person’s prognosis and the complications of their current condition, such as frequent ER visits and hospital stays, side effects of their illness or treatment such as infections, pain and shortness of breath, and the overall stress and fear they are feeling.

It’s important for a person considering hospice care to know what their options are and that they will not be alone. Focus on the following points:

  • There is not a cure for your condition, so let’s focus on the things we can control and that includes
    making sure you make the most of the time you have left
  • The hospice team will help you to maintain as much independence and dignity as possible for as
    long as possible so you can have the best possible quality of life
  • Because of hospice, you’ll have better control of your symptoms and be able to stay at home with us
  • Your doctor is still part of the team and we can reach out if we need him/her
  • You aren’t going to live as long as we all want, but we’ll be able to enjoy the time we have with you

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is happy to sit down with families and help them have this conversation or have it with their loved ones for them. No one should walk the end of life journey along, and we are proud to be here to support patients and their loved ones every step of the way.

We offer a Family Caregiver Support Network and a hospice program focused on quality of life. Although hospice is available to any terminally-ill patient, 90 percent of hospice patients are Medicare beneficiaries. We are happy to answer questions regarding eligibility and to help families understand how the Hospice Medicare Benefit works.

For more information call 866.474.5230 or visit our Hospice page.

Fight the flu

Colder weather comes with boots, sweaters, scarves and sniffles as cold and flu season arrives.

During this time of year, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is reminding members of the community of the importance of getting an annual flu shot.

Influenza is a serious lung disease caused by a virus, which spreads from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough, chills, muscle aches, headache and sore throat.

Although many are only sick for a few days, thousands die each year. The virus can make anyone ill – most deaths are in people over age 50 and it is also particularly dangerous for young children. Serious complications, such as pneumonia can lead to hospitalization.

“The flu is a very real health risk. The best thing you can do to protect yourself, your children and the people around you – particularly those with compromised immune systems – is to get your flu shot,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Health Promotion Supervisor Kathleen Eagle. “There are a lot of myths that exist surrounding the flu shot, but the reality is that it is a safe, effective way to reduce your risk of getting the flu and to help you recover more quickly if you do get sick.”

Everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu shot, particularly those with a chronic condition, caregivers of those at high-risk, students and those in institutional settings, residents of long-term care facilities and pregnant women.

Other important tips for flu prevention include regular hand washing, covering your mouth when you cough by coughing into your elbow, disinfecting surfaces in your home and workspace, and eating well along with drinking enough water.

The vaccine will prevent most strains of the flu and though it isn’t 100% effective as the virus changes frequently, it will decrease the severity of the illness if you do get the flu. The vaccine is developed yearly based on the strains expected to be most prevalent and it takes one to two weeks to take effect, but will protect you for several months.

There are vaccines specifically for those over age 65 designed to create a stronger immune response, so ask your doctor for more information.

The vaccine cannot cause the flu, but it will not prevent other illnesses you may contract around the time of receiving the vaccine, and it can cause some side effects – including temporary fever or aches – though most people have no reaction at all.

VNACHCH will host public flu clinics the following dates, times and locations:

Tuesday, Oct. 8
Woodbridge Center
4 Meetinghoue Lane Woodbridge
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 10
Miller Senior Center
2901 Dixwell Ave. Hamden
9 to noon

Friday, Oct. 11
St. George Church (in the Church Hall)
33 Whitfield St. Guilford
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 15
Joyce Budrow Senior Center
189 Pool Rd. North Haven
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 17
Madison Senior Center (in Library)
29 Bradley Rd. Madison
12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Getting physical

Tips to overcome everyday aches and pains

The main goal of the wellness programming at VNA Community Healthcare
& Hospice is to keep you moving, but pain can sometimes get in the way. Estimates from the International Association for the Study of Pain suggest that one in five adults across the globe suffer from pain.

“Even those living healthy, active lifestyles can suffer from mild to moderate aches and pains that can impact daily life,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Director of Therapy Kelli Filosa. “Pain also doesn’t discriminate. Although many find they struggle with it as part of the aging process, younger individuals can also face challenges.”

Pain can affect anyone, even people who have not been in an accident or suffered an injury while playing a sport or performing another physical activity. For example, lower back pain, which can be caused by sitting at a desk for long stretches of time, is the most common type of chronic pain in the United States. Such pain may be unavoidable, but that does not mean it and other types of everyday aches and pains cannot be overcome.

Begin a well-rounded exercise regimen

Regular exercise that includes both strength training and cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and helps build a strong core.

A strong core supports the spine and reduces the pressure on it, making it less likely people who sit for long stretches at a time will end their days with lower back pain. Routine exercise also helps other areas of the body by keeping muscles loose and flexible. Before beginning a new exercise regimen, men and women, especially those with existing aches and pains, should consult their physicians about which exercises they should do and which they might want to avoid.

“Our home healthcare physical therapy clients most often require our services after a fall, injury or joint replacement, though they can also be beneficial if you have an ongoing medical condition that has gotten worse – such as chronic heart failure, breathing problems or diabetes,” Filosa explained. “We can also help those dealing with weakness or poor balance after a stroke or other medical event.”

She added, “Because we help those dealing with such a wide range of physical therapy needs, we are experts in exercise programs and even home modifications that can help you live safely and prevent an injury before one occurs.”

Filosa recommends walking as a tried and true method of cardiovascular exercise, as well as low impact classes such as the Yoga, Tai Chi or Sitercise classes offered by VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice to help with building core strength and improving balance.

Employ RICE

RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, can help men and women overcome the aches and pains that result as the body ages and tendons begin to lose some of their elasticity. RICE might be most helpful for people with tendinitis.

“It’s important to exercise regularly and to stay active after an injury, fall or joint replacement, only of course with the approval of your doctor and under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, but appropriate rest and care is also necessary,” Filosa explained. “A therapist can offer tips on what’s best for specific types of pain.”

Athletes over 40 who engage in activities that require repetitive motion might need to take more days off between rounds of golf or other competitive and/or repetitive activities.

Recognize your body may develop some limitations

Age should not prevent you from being physically active, and numerous studies have touted the benefits of continuing to exercise into your golden years. However, as the body ages, muscle fibers become less dense, resulting in a loss of flexibility that increases the risk of injury and/or soreness. As men and women grow older, they shouldn’t abandon activities like gardening or strength training, but they may need to scale back on the intensity of such activities. Doing so can prevent the kinds of muscle strains associated with aging.

To learn more about our therapy program, visit our page for Therapy Services.

Walking Tall

National Safety Month tips for staying confident on your feet

Anyone can have a slip.

Literally, staying on your feet is not always an easy thing, which is why during the month of June – recognized as National Safety Month – the National Safety Council is promoting education on the prevention of slips, trips and falls.

According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, falls are the leading cause of accidental injury for people age 55 and older, despite the fact that they are a preventable health problem. Individuals who have had changes in balance or a decline in physical mobility, those with a chronic illness or visual impairments, hearing deficits or foot problems, and those taking more than four prescription medications are at increased risk.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice offers Steady Steps, an award-winning fall risk reduction program, to help reduce the incidence and negative impacts of falls. Of our participants, 85 percent lower their risk of falls, improve balance and learn how to prevent falls from occurring.

The program, which is funded by a grant from and based on research by the experts from the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention and the Yale School of Medicine through the Department of Aging, is led by a team of nurses, physical therapists and certified instructors.

It includes screenings in the home or community setting, assessment of risks for falls and development of a personalized plan, assessment of home safety hazards, a balance assessment and blood pressure evaluation along with a medication review, and the teaching of simple balance exercises.

When it comes to avoiding falls, there are some simple steps everyone can take.

Dress for success

Cute shoes may be calling, but one of the most important things to do to prevent a fall is to wear the right footwear for your environment. Make sure to consider the conditions of where you’re headed and how much walking you’ll be doing when selecting shoes. Slip-resistant shoes can be helpful, but at a minimum make sure your shoes are broken in to reduce the slippery nature of the soles. You can do this by scuffing the soles on concrete before wearing them. Even around the house, make sure the soles of slippers are rough and don’t walk around on wood or tile floors in socks.

Hit the lights

Make sure when you are working or navigating a new environment that the lighting is appropriate, and take care when getting out of bed at night for a trip to the bathroom or kitchen. Adequate lighting helps you to see objects in your path and to avoid missteps that can lead to slips and falls.

Know your surroundings and announce yourself

We’ve all tried at some point to be a master of maneuvering – to sidestep through that tight space carrying something in our hands – but the best way to be safe is to be sure you have plenty of visibility and a path to move through while walking. It can also be helpful to announce yourself when in a shared or public space. Open doors slowly and tell others when you’re moving around them but are outside their line of sight, for example walking behind them.

Focus on fitness

Staying flexible and agile can help you to avoid falls, or minimize the impact if a fall takes place. As part of its Steady Steps program, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice offers programs tailored to participant’s fitness and ability level including sitercize, Exercise for Better Balance and Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®, all of which can help reduce the risk for falls.

For more information on dates and times of Steady Steps programming, visit vnacommunityhealthcare.org/calendar.

Managing Pain

How well do you understand Palliative Care?

September is Pain Management Month, a good time to consider how important pain management is in the lives of those living with a chronic illness.

At VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, we offer a palliative care program focused on quality of life that is beneficial for anyone suffering from side effects of curative treatments or simply those in need of pain or symptom management.

Common misconceptions about palliative care include that a person must be in the hospital to receive it or that pain and suffering is just part of a chronic illness.

Palliative care is aimed at controlling symptoms so patients are more comfortable and able to stay out of the hospital. It is helpful to those struggling to cope as an illness progresses and those suffering from a variety of causes of discomfort and pain.

Shortness of breath, the inability to move around freely, loss of appetite and nausea, confusion about one’s treatment plan or worry about the future, and a loss of interest in hobbies that comes with depression or frustration resulting from an illness are all things causes of discomfort and pain that palliative care can help improve.

Palliative care teams include registered nurses, home health aides, spiritual counselors, social workers and rehabilitation therapists.

Pain does not have to be accepted as part of chronic illness, nor is it always part of dying once an illness progresses. There are many ways pain can be managed. In addition to providing symptom control medically, our program can help lower stress on patients and families, which aids the process of getting pain under control.

Many confuse palliative care with hospice care, and believe that they must be dying or end their curative treatment to receive a palliative care referral.

Palliative care can be engaged at any point during an illness and is not the same as hospice care. Unlike with hospice services, patients receiving palliative care can continue curative treatments and do not need to be considered terminally ill.

Engaging palliative care does not mean you will die sooner, it simply means you will continue to live with the support of trained professionals who can help ensure you have the best quality of life possible.