Posts By: Abigail Storiale

Breakfast in Bloom 2019

TO REGISTER CLICK HERE

Annual event will honor community partners, celebrate quality of life programs

Raphael Erwin McManus said, “A life well lived is the most exquisite work of art.”

This year, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is inviting members of the community to help build a masterpiece as it seeks to help patients, caregivers and all individuals in its 35-town service area live their best lives.

The nonprofit agency will hold its annual Breakfast in Bloom fundraiser at Woodwinds in Branford Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 a.m. The morning will include a buffet breakfast, a raffle and a silent auction. All proceeds from the event will support the nonprofit visiting nurses agency’s vital services, including home healthcare, community wellness programs and its Family Caregiver Support Network.

The breakfast will also provide an overview of the myriad programs run by the agency to help clients be well so they can live well.

“Some individuals we serve are recovering from surgery and working hard to get back to their normal routine, while others are living with a chronic illness and seeking support as they work to achieve their best possible quality of life,” explained VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice CEO Janine Fay. “In addition to our patients, we reach thousands of caregivers and community program participants each year and seek to provide them with the best resources so they can live in good health and make the most of every day.”

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is a century-old nonprofit agency that employs expertly trained staff to help individuals recover and regain independence quickly and easily. When a cure is no longer an option, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice provides individuals and families with choices, control and comfort in their final months. As a leader in healthcare at home and the self-care movement, the agency proudly serves 35 towns in southern Connecticut.

As it has annually, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice will present Community Partner Awards to three people for 2019.

“We cannot have VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice without the word ‘community,’ and likewise we cannot have success without that critical component,” Fay said. “It is a special moment each year when we have the opportunity to thank our valued partners for all they do to help us realize our goals of promoting and preserving the health, safety, dignity and independence of individuals and families.”

Tickets for the breakfast are $40 each. Tables of 10 are available for $350. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here or call 203-458-4277.

Keenan Funeral Home to sponsor Comfort in Motion

A warm and welcoming 8-week session of bereavement support will be offered at Evergreen Woods in North Branford

Great comfort can be found in simply taking a walk with a friend.

That is why VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice will once again hold its Comfort in Motion bereavement support group. The upcoming series will take place for nine weeks beginning April 11 and ending June 6. Sessions are held from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

This unique bereavement support group – the only one of its kind in the state – is facilitated by a trained VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Bereavement volunteer and sponsored by Keenan Funeral Home, located in North Branford.

Those grieving the loss of a loved one are invited to gather with others to walk and talk in a supportive setting while getting some exercise.

“This support group is an important part of the bereavement program for the loved ones of hospice patients we’ve served, but participation is not limited to the families of those we’ve worked with in the past,” explained Jo Ann Begley of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice. “Any person who has lost a loved one can benefit from the support of others walking a similar journey of grief.”

The group will meet weekly at the main entrance of Evergreen Woods, 88 Notch Hill Rd., North Branford.

The facilitator will offer suggestions to help guide conversation during and after the walk. After the walk, those who choose will gather in the library at Evergreen Woods.

Begley believes in the impact she has seen this group have on those who have lost someone close to them.

“There is this synergy you can just see,” she said of the participants.

This program is free. To register call the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice helpline at 1.866.474.5230.

Thank you to our sponsor:

Winter/Spring 2019 program book released

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice offers many opportunities to help you improve your health, prevent illnesses and keep you independent. From group classes, personalized blood pressure checks and nurse health coaching, to clinics and cholesterol screening, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice‘s team of professional nurses will help you design a personalized wellness program.

We are pleased to announce the release of our program book for Winter/Spring of 2019. Programs include a full line up of exercise classes and several wellness programs in towns throughout our territory. For the first time, our program book also includes educational articles about health and wellness trends and advice for living well.

Our next edition of the program book will be released in March of this year containing programming information for the spring and summer. We will resume our health promotions mailing of the program book with that edition. To be added to the mailing list, please email Mary Higgins at mhiggins@vna-commh.org or call our toll free helpline at 1.866.474.5230.

Click the following link to view the Program book winter 2019 web.

M.J. Petretto Foundation makes donation to VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice

$6,000 gift to benefit Parkinson’s disease exercise programs and support groups

GUILFORD – VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is the grateful recipient of a donation from the M.J. Petretto Foundation for the eighth consecutive year.
Foundation representatives Linda Remington and M.J. Petretto recently visited the wellness center at the Guilford headquarters of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice – a nonprofit home healthcare agency serving Middlesex and New Haven Counties – to present a $6,000 check.

The Foundation is itself a 501(c)(3) nonprofit established nearly a decade ago as part of Retirement Planning Group’s desire to give back to organizations that support education, health and quality of life in Connecticut communities. Each year the Foundation’s signature event, the M.J. Petretto Foundation Golf Classic proceeds are divided among multiple beneficiaries, including the Gaylord Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Program, the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Parkinson’s programs, and other charities such as the Shoreline Arts Alliance and Make a Wish Connecticut.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice provides twice-weekly Parkinson’s exercise classes at its Guilford wellness center, as well as monthly support groups for Parkinson’s family caregivers and those living with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. The agency has a variety of resource materials available for Parkinson’s patients and their family members and seeks to foster an environment of camaraderie. These community offerings augment the agency’s expertise in providing therapy in the home for Parkinson’s patients.

Linda Remington has a personal connection to the VNACHCH program as her father, Ray Pzygocki, lived with Parkinson’s and benefitted from its offerings.

“We’re proud to support the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Parkinson’s program and comforted to know that programs like this exist to help patients and families until such time a cure for Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases is found,” Linda said.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice CEO Janine Fay thanked Linda and MJ for the Foundation’s ongoing support during the pairs visit to a meeting of the Parkinson’s exercise group.

“This program is an important part of our mission to help individuals in the communities we serve live their best lives. We appreciate the opportunity to help Parkinson’s disease patients maintain their best quality of life possible and to support them and their family caregivers on their journey,” Fay said.

The 2019 M.J. Petretto Foundation Annual Golf Classic will be held Monday, June 10 at the Clinton Country Club. This year’s event marks the 10th anniversary of the golf outing. For more information visit mjpfoundation.org.

To learn more about VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice visit vnacommunityhealthcare.org.

Guy Tommasi given Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home Innovation Award

During its annual conference earlier this month, the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home presented its Innovation Award to Guy Tommasi, the executive director of LIFETIME Care at Home.

A proven leader in the private home care industry, Tommasi created an outcome system that enables LIFETIME and its parent agency, VNA Community Healthcare and Hospice, to demonstrate the value LIFETIME brings to the healthcare system.

The CAHCH Innovation Award is given each year to an association member agency or individual who embraces change and consistently strives to use new methods and technologies to optimize home health, hospice or personal care delivery.

“Guy is recognized and respected as a statewide leader by creating the model of the future for the non-medical home care agencies,” said Deborah Hoyt, president and CEO of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home.

“His knowledge about leveraging data to improve business operations has elevated LIFETIME Care at Home’s value and opened doors to forward-thinking relationship-building with healthcare providers across the care continuum. Guy’s trailblazing efforts are improving the personal care industry as a whole and have carved out an important place for home-based services in future healthcare delivery models,” Hoyt added.

LIFETIME Care at Home is a private in-home, nonmedical care provider for those who need a trusted resource beside them to help get through daily challenges of living more confidently. LIFETIME Care at Home is an important part of the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice continuum of care, integrated as part of a larger team to help address home care needs quicker and more completely than other alternatives.

LIFETIME Care at Home staff provide insight into care solutions and create more stable living situations for the clients the agency serves.

To learn more, visit lifetimecareathome.com.

VNACHCH welcomes new board members

During it’s annual meeting Wednesday, Nov. 7, the Board of Directors of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice said goodbye to two board members and welcomed two new members to its slate.

Susan Bailey and Don Offner were thanked for their years of service on the board as their tenures came to a close, while new members Bob Paolucci and Diane Vorio were welcomed aboard.

Outgoing Board Chair Dr. Gerard Kerins, who will remain a board member, passed the chairperson reigns to David Cowan.

Paolucci brings more than 20 years of wealth management experience to the board. He founded Principle Wealth Partners, prior to which he served as senior vice president at Essex Financial where he was a member of the investment committee and board of directors. He also has large investment firm experience serving in senior roles at Fidelity Investments and Bank of America Investments. He focuses on all areas of financial planning including investment management, taxes, wealth accumulation, cash flow generation, insurance and estate planning to generate comprehensive financial plans for clients.

As a fiduciary, Paolucci, said he has a passion for providing independent, unbiased advice and educating his clients on the importance of behavioral finance.

He resides in Killingworth with his wife and daughter.

A resident of Guilford, Vorio holds an MS in Management from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, The Hartford Graduate Center and an MSN in Nursing Management, Policy & Leadership from the Yale University School of Nursing. She earned her BS in Healthcare Management from St. Joseph’s College (now The University of Saint Joseph) and her diploma as a Registered Nurse from Grace New Haven School of Nursing.

She spent the last decade at Yale New Haven Hospital as vice president of patient services and associate Chief Nursing Officer. She specializes in developing and implementing system and organizational improvements to advance safety, quality and efficiency results, as well as controlling costs and finding success in accreditation and regulatory reviews.

“On behalf of myself and my staff, I’m excited to welcome our two new board members. We know their varied and impressive skills will help us continue to thrive in our mission to be beside patients at every turn,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice President & CEO Janine Fay. “I’d also like to extend our gratitude to our two outgoing board members for their dedicated service to our agency.”

VNACHCH releases annual report

This year, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice sought to paint a true picture of the value of its services with the agency’s annual report.

In partnership with the Florence Griswold Museum of Old Lyme, the home healthcare agency depicted patient and staff testimonials through works of art. Inspired by the quote, “A life well lived is the most exquisite work of art,” VNACHCH asked a few of its clients, caregivers and staff members to select artwork from the museum collection that spoke to them about living well – the very thing VNACHCH endeavors to make possible for all individuals it serves.

Ann Freeman, whose husband, Michael, was a VNACHCH Hospice patient in the last year, chose a painting of the Maine coastline that spoke to her about the years she and her husband spent visiting Maine and other oceanside locations together.

VNACHCH nurse Patty Tsou chose a painting that reminded her of Ireland and evoked the feeling of a “hopeful start to a new day” for her, stirring in her a feeling of connection to her mother, who also was a nurse.

Images of those who provided testimonials posing among the museum’s artwork fill the pages of the annual report, which also tells the story of an agency holding steady in winds of fiscal struggle prompted by state budget cuts and a changing healthcare landscape. The report outlines the agency goals for the future, it’s focus on excellence in patient care, and the many ways donor support is needed and appreciated.

“We are proud of our continued commitment to our mission to help patients live their best lives, and would like to express sincere gratitude to the Florence Griswold Museum and its staff for their willingness to share the beauty of art with us so we can share the beauty of our own stories with the community,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice CEO Janine Fay.

To view the annual report, click here: VNA_AR2018_WEB.

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

#GivingTuesday event Nov. 27

Something big is brewing this November.

Now entering its seventh 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 Something Big Is Brewing #GivingTuesday event, set for Nov. 27 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, 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 bottle opener.

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.

Through home healthcare, a family caregiver support network, wellness programs, clinics and health screenings, exercise classes and vaccinations, VNACHCH helps all individuals it serves be well so they can live well.

“All donations raised at the Something Big Is Brewing #GivingTuesday event will allow us to take this journey with the people we serve throughout New Haven and Middlesex Counties, and help them live their best life every step of the way,” said Janine Fay, President & CEO of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice.

Shore Publishing and Zip06 is proud to be the official Media Sponsor for this event. Other sponsorship opportunities are available. Visit bit.ly/VNASomethingBig 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!

Exclusive presenting sponsor:

 

Exclusive bar sponsor:

 

Exclusive cocktail table sponsor:

 

Food sponsor:

 

Supporting sponsors:

                      

                                            

 

Contessa Insurance, LLC

Now ‘n Then Therapeutic Massage

Tremonte Auto Group

 

Printing sponsor:

 

Media sponsor:

Shore Publishing

VNACHCH strengthens presence in Hamden

HAMDEN – There is a common thread that all caregivers share, and VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is committed to strengthening the fibers of that thread as it invests in the community.

After a decade in North Haven, the nonprofit healthcare agency decided earlier this summer to consolidate its successful efforts to foster health and wellness in its Hamden location. The North Haven Family Caregiver Resource Center was moved to One Hamden Center, located on Whitney Avenue, which offered a strengthening of the agency’s Hamden presence and growth of its already robust resource center for this region of the 35 towns it serves.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice also operates out of its main office on Boston Post Road in Guilford, as well as Family Caregiver Resource Centers in Old Saybrook and West Haven.

The agency serves as the official Visiting Nurse Association for the towns of Hamden and North Haven and works closely with Elderly Services in both towns, though its offerings are far more vast than nursing alone. VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is a century-old nonprofit organization with a rich tradition of offering exceptional home healthcare services and extensive community care resources, including a variety of wellness and caregiver programs, a Helpline and an award-winning fall risk reduction program.

The vitality of the area’s services in the Hamden area was further strengthened by the introduction of a new Manager of Therapy Services, Donna Casablanca, and a new Branch Clinical Manager, LouAnna Wilkinson.
Wilkinson has years of experience with VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice under her belt, but with her recent move to Hamden she has found renewed passion for her job.

“It is extremely rewarding to help folks stay in their home while caring for them and teaching them to care for themselves,” Wilkinson said. “We offer so much to the community in services from skilled nursing and therapy to private care through LIFETIME Care at Home, to our caregiver support groups. I feel very lucky to work for an agency that can help people and families in so many different areas.”
Casablanca worked in acute care and outpatient orthopedic settings before settling into home healthcare and is finding she enjoys the community presence VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice works to maintain. She noted the Ask the Nurse Clinics, physical therapy clinics, community exercise classes and range of services the agency provides.

She is proud to have helped the agency implement the New Beginnings program in assisted living facilities to asses a person’s mobility so they can safely transition into new surroundings and navigate their new environment.
Casablanca hopes that as VNACHCH strengthens its presence, the community will respond.

“Hopefully we become familiar, comforting and trusted faces to people when they are in the middle of an unsettling time facing a healthcare challenge,” she said.

When it comes to working with caregivers, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice’s Family Caregiver Support Network Coordinator Jo Ann Begley is committed to helping individuals in need.

“Our Resource Center is a place where caregivers and individuals can come for information and referrals to whatever resources might support their situation,” Begley explained. “We welcome our patients and their families, former patients, wellness class participants and any resident of Hamden or North Haven seeking guidance. It doesn’t matter if you have an established relationship with our agency or the length of time you’ve worked with us previously. We’re here to help.”

Begley noted that individuals are being discharged from medical settings more quickly and with greater needs than they ever have been before, so family members and patients are often unprepared or underprepared for what is expected of them.

“Our intention is to help give people the tools that they need to be well so we can prevent hospital readmissions and keep people safe at home, where they want to be,” she said.

All visits to the Hamden Resource Center must be scheduled in advance and consults can be done on the phone or in person. Call the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Helpline at 866-474-5230 to make an appointment.

The agency also offers a caregiver support group the last Tuesday of the month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Miller Senior Center. The support group will soon include visits from guest speakers and is led by a facilitator who happens to specialize in geriatric care management, though Begley stressed caregivers of all ages and walks of life are welcome and will find the help they need.

She is grateful to have spent many years working with caregivers and seeing firsthand the impact VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice support groups have on participants.

“There is this synergy you can just see among these people who didn’t know each other at first. It’s beautiful to watch them support each other and give each other suggestions and ideas. This one’s loved one may have chronic heart disease, this one Alzheimer’s and this one COPD, but they are all there to help each other cope with whatever their situation is,” Begley said.

“Anybody who is struggling with the ins and outs of day-to-day life and navigating caregiving for a loved one will benefit from involvement in this group,” Begley added. “Whether you’re a parent, a spouse or a child or sibling, we have the resources you need. There is a common thread that all caregivers share, regardless of what the relationship to the person is or the diagnosis.”

Upcoming Program helps people Dodge Diabetes

GUILFORD – Prevention is a critical piece of the puzzle of health and wellness.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, a local nonprofit devoted to helping its home healthcare patients and all members of the 35 communities it serves to achieve their best quality of life, believes in the importance of prevention and healthcare education.

That is why it will once again host its yearlong program, Dodge Diabetes, beginning Thursday, Sept. 27.

One in three American adults has prediabetes. Those with prediabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, as many with prediabetes do within five years if they do not lose weight or increase their physical activity level. Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs.

People are most likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they are 45 years of age or older, are overweight, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, are physically active fewer than three times per week or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than nine pounds.

The best, controllable way to prevent diabetes is to lose weight through exercise and smart eating habits. Dodge Diabetes focuses on education in these areas to help individuals cut their risk of developing diabetes in half. 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 Thursdays from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Wellness Center of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice’s Guilford office. For the first four months, the class meets every Thursday, then every other week, and then once a month during the last half of the year.

“We are thrilled to be offering for the second year a life-changing, year-long Diabetes prevention program,” said Kathleen Eagle, RN, Health Promotion Supervisor at VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice. “It can be difficult to incorporate changes into your lifestyle, but we are here to provide the tools people need to avoid this potentially devastating chronic illness. This supportive environment will help participants to see they are not alone in their quest to achieve the best possible quality of life. We look forward to providing this forum for participants to learn from one another and from our expert staff.”

The first class of Dodge Diabetes will meet at VNA Community Healthcare, 753 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, Thursday, Sept. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m..; cost is $195 for the full 12 month program. Contact Kathleen for details: 866.474.5230 or keagle@vna-commh.org.