Posts By: Abigail Storiale

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

Sunday FUND-DAY to benefit VNACHCH affiliate

MADISON – Strong House Adult Day Center, an affiliate of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, will host its second annual Sunday FUND-DAY to benefit Strong House Adult Day Center, Sunday, Sept. 16 from 1 to 3 p.m., 546 Durham Road, Madison. The event will include food, gelato, a wine tasting, raffle, live music and yard games. Park at the Exit 61 Commuter Lot and the Strong House van will drive you to the party.

This gathering of current and past Strong House family and friends serves as an opportunity to support all the great work done at Strong House. Admission is $25 per person or a suggested donation of $10 for children.

To register, click here:

Can’t attend but want to help support Strong House? Click here:

Thank you to our sponsors:

Presenting sponsor:

Culinary sponsors:


Tent sponsor: 

Comfort in Motion bereavement support group begins


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 eight weeks beginning Thursday, Sept. 27 and ending Thursday, Nov. 15. Sessions are held from 9:30 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.

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. Meet at the main entrance of Evergreen Woods, 88 Notch Hill Rd., North Branford.

Casual socializing takes place after the walk in the “Club Room” at Evergreen Woods.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice’s Family Caregiver Support Network Coordinator Jo Ann 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 among these people who didn’t know each other at first,” she said. “It’s beautiful to watch them support each other.”

To learn more call the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice helpline at 1.866.474.5230.

Second Opinion: VNACHCH responds to recent federal report

Below are thoughts from the President and CEO of VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice, Janine Fay.

The phrase may be that one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel, but one bad apple – or even a few – doesn’t illustrate the integrity of the rest of the apples on the tree.

On Tuesday, July 31, NPR was the first to cover a federal report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services Office of the Inspector General regarding the Medicare Hospice Program. NPR’s broadcast and article were headlined “Fraud and Neglect Are Problems In Hospice Industry, Federal Report Finds” and detailed the findings culled from patient and Medicare payment data over the past 13 years.

The federal report states that there are hospices that do not always provide needed services to beneficiaries and sometimes provide poor quality care. It also states that there have been instances in which hospices overbill or, in extreme cases, commit fraud by enrolling beneficiaries who are not eligible for hospice care or by billing for services never rendered, thereby costing Medicare hundreds of millions of dollars.

This is troubling to the general population, but perhaps even more so for dedicated nonprofit hospice providers like VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice that do not want their reputation at risk when the criticisms of hospice were not, in their case, earned.

These findings are critical to shed light on hospices lacking in quality of care or seeking to defraud the system, but the release of this information paints hospices with a broad brush and can be damaging to the hospice industry and the many providers who seek to serve the best interests of patients and their families above all else.

Hospice focuses on quality of life and provides physical, emotional and spiritual support to those faced with a life-limiting illness. The majority of hospice services nationwide is provided in the home and includes bereavement care for family members for more than a year after a loved one has passed away.

The fact that the OIG report found many hospices target beneficiaries who will have longest length of stay thus equating to a larger payout, or that it found many hospices provide insufficient care, is tragic.

However there is an important distinction between flaws in an industry and an industry that is inherently flawed.

What the NPR article fails to explain is that Medicare-certified hospices may be for-profit, nonprofit or government-owned, and the differences of motive can presumably be vast.

Hospice providers such as VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice offer hospice services as part of a larger picture of a commitment to health and wellness for the whole person, for their whole life. With more than a century of service in home healthcare behind us, our staff added hospice care just a year ago because we saw it as the bright light it can be in the lives of our patients, not as the dark cloud in the Medicare system that the OIG report seems to find it to be.

Already known as an expert agency when it comes to care for individuals with any healthcare need, we wanted to be sure we could continue relationships with our patients and their families through their entire life’s journey.

We are dedicated to being a nonprofit that serves the community and its needs from first to final days, and consider the quality of patient care to be of highest importance.

There is no doubt that it is time to shake the tree, but let us not forget that the tree of hospice care is also capable of bearing beautiful fruit.

VNACHCH Named Top Agency

GUILFORD — VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice today announced that it has been named a Top Agency of the 2017 HomeCare Elite®, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. For 12 years, HomeCare Elite 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 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 team at VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice has demonstrated an impressive ability to deliver great patient care,” said Christine Lang, senior director for ABILITY Network. “This is due to the skill and dedication of their clinical professionals, as well as the proficiency and efforts of their quality team tracking, measuring and interpreting the data that supports the delivery of care. Together, they have earned this recognition as one of the top home care agencies in the country.”

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 providing our core in-home services of nursing and therapy, or reaching out to the community through our Flu Clinics, Ask a Nurse Clinics, our award-winning Fall Free Living program or our Caregiver Support Network, we are devoted to the patients we serve and their families,” Fay said.

“Congratulations to those leading agencies that earned a spot on HomeCare Elite,” said Marci Heydt, senior content manager for DecisionHealth. “VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice and its peers have worked hard to improve quality outcomes while maintaining solid profit margins, which is increasingly difficult as home health agencies faced increased regulatory burdens each year.”

HomeCare Elite agencies are determined by an analysis of performance measures in quality outcomes, best practices implementation, patient experience (HHCAHPS), quality improvement and consistency, and financial health. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least three outcomes in Home Health Compare. Out of 9,064 agencies considered, 2,268 are recognized on the 2017 HomeCare Elite winners list overall.

The entire list of 2017 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the ABILITY Network website at