Topic: News And Events

VNACHCH celebrates its nurses

 

The COVID-19 pandemic gave many a new appreciation for the strength of character and the dedication of healthcare professions. Each year, one week of May is devoted to celebrating the work of nurses in particular, something VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is and always has been proud to do.

The nonprofit home healthcare agency aims to be beside individuals and their loved ones at every turn along the journey of health. Services range from disease prevention and total wellness programming, to rehabilitating those recovering from surgery or a medical event, supporting those living with a chronic condition, and helping those at the end of their life.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, VNACHCH nurses continued to go out into the homes of patients, helping those at high risk for complications of the virus to remain out of the hospital and at home – the environment where they were most comfortable and where they were safe from potential exposure. The unprecedented circumstances presented unique challenges to providing quality healthcare at home, but the staff diligently addressed all needs and cared for those with and recovering from a COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as all other patients requiring services.

“We pause to pay extra attention each May to celebrating the incredible work of our staff, but certainly our nurses deserve praise all year long,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice President & CEO Janine Fay. “They do tremendous work which was only made all the more noteworthy as they tackled the challenges of the pandemic. They go above and beyond to get to know our patients and treat each person as the individual that they are, whatever their condition and treatment plan may require.”

The agency offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapy services – including speech, occupational and physical therapies – palliative and hospice care, and a variety of community wellness programs. Its staff specializes in the treatment of those with chronic conditions, such as COPD, Parkinson’s disease and Congestive Heart Failure, and focuses on supporting caregivers in addition to its patients.

Home healthcare nurses have a keen ability to connect to patients and families during often difficult transitional periods of time as people recover from illness or adapt to new diagnoses. The hospice team puts a particular emphasis on the individual as they focus on living at the end of life. With the help of an entire team that also includes social workers and volunteers, the hospice nurses work to identify “every day wishes” to help the people in their care experience maximum quality of life.

From a simple wish such as a favorite meal at home to a more complex wish of a chance to fish off a favorite pier, VNACHCH nurses and staff are committed to making moments count, something that deserves recognition during Nurses Week and always.

Agency offers Veteran-centric care

 

Pictured: Patient Ted Wojack receives his certificate recognizing his Veteran status from his volunteer, Bryon. Ted passed away shortly after receiving this special recognition.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice achieved Level One Partnership status this fall with We Honor Veterans, a national program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The progression to this level demonstrates a high level of commitment to Veteran-centric care in the communities the Agency services. VNACHCH became a We Honor Veterans partner in the fall of 2019.

As a partner, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice provides specialized care to Veterans who are facing a serious illness. This includes identifying and serving the unique needs of Veterans, utilizing acquired knowledge to assist Veterans in navigating VA benefits, and honoring Veterans with special recognition through certificates and pinning ceremonies.

Throughout the month of November, the hospice team and members of the We Honor Veterans Volunteer Committee presented each Veteran in the Agency’s care with a special framed certificate specific to their brand of service and a flag pin.

NHPCO and the Department of Veterans Affairs launched We Honor Veterans a decade ago to address the growing need for Veteran-centered care, especially as Veterans from different eras are aging and need access to palliative and hospice care that meets their unique needs. Learn more at www.wehonorveterans.org.

Agency offers drive-thru flu clinics

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, another layer of public health concern will be added with the arrival of flu season.

To help members of the community obtain their important annual flu shot while maintaining social distancing and protecting everyone from exposure to COVID-19, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is offering drive-thru public clinics this year.

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 the flu is particularly dangerous for young children. Serious complications, such as pneumonia can lead to hospitalization.

Although the flu vaccine does not prevent the flu in all cases, it significantly lessens the impact the virus has on the body, and reduces the severity of symptoms a person experiences.

“The best thing you can do to protect yourself and the people around is to get your flu shot,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Health Promotion Supervisor Tracy Blanford. “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. Particularly during this time when the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 persists, we encourage everyone to be vaccinated against the flu so their immune systems are armed against at one of these potentially very serious viruses.”

Everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu shot, particularly those with a chronic condition and caregivers of those at high-risk.

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. The vaccine cannot cause the flu, but it will not prevent other illnesses you may contract around the time of receiving the vaccine or against the flu if you are infected within the two week window before the vaccine takes effect. The vaccine can cause some side effects – including temporary fever or aches – though most people have no reaction at all.

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is holding public flu clinics in Guilford, Madison, North Haven, Hamden, Woodbridge and Wallingford. Pre-registration is required for all clinics.

For more information and to pre-register, click here.

Agency again earns CHAP accreditation

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice was recently once again awarded Community Health Accreditation Partner, Inc., (CHAP) accreditation under the CHAP Standards of Excellence.

CHAP Accreditation demonstrates that VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice meets the industry’s highest national recognized standards. The rigorous evaluation by CHAP focuses on structure and function, quality of services and products, human and financial resources and long-term viability. Adherence to CHAP’s standards leads to better quality care and better business performance.

“By achieving CHAP Accreditation, VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice has show a commitment to excellence,” said Barbara McCann, CHAP President & CEO. “We are excited to continue our partnership with VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice by offering support in its commitment to providing quality care and continuous improvement.”

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is a century old nonprofit, donor-supported organization with a rich tradition of offering exceptional home healthcare services and extensive community care resources to more than 35 towns in southern Connecticut. The agency partners with patients and caregivers to provide support, education, and guidance as needs change.

“We are proud to have a team that is consistently affirmed to meet the highest standards – one that has gone above and beyond during the last few challenging months and always to provide exceptional and safe care to the people we serve,” said VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice CEO Janine Fay.

CHAP is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body for home and community-based health care organizations. It was the first entity to recognize the need and value for accreditation in home and community-based care with more than 5,000 organizations currently accredited nationwide. It is a nationally approved accrediting organization with authority granted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to survey agencies and determine if they meet the Medicare Conditions of Participation and CMS Quality Standards.

How to support high-risk loved ones during the outbreak

 

VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice is committed to helping keep all members of the communities we serve safe and healthy in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the majority of our patients and wellness class participants are of the aging population, we take seriously our commitment to those who are most vulnerable.

We encourage everyone to engage in social distancing as recommended by the CDC. That means staying home unless absolutely necessary and avoiding close contact with anyone outside of your immediate family.

We know this is a time of uncertainty and stress for everyone, and can be particularly frightening for older people and their caregivers and other loved ones.

Here are a few suggestions for helping older relatives and friends through this time of necessary social distancing.

Set a daily Facetime date.

Social interaction is important. It helps us feel connected to those around us, which can lower stress and anxiety. Choose a time each day to speak on the phone with your elderly loved one. An even better option is to use your iPhone to Facetime or your desktop computer to Skype with the person so face-to-face discussions can be had.

Check on your elderly neighbors.

It’s important to make sure the people in our community are being taken care of during this tumultuous time. If you have an aging person in your neighborhood, stop by briefly to see if there is anything they need. Make sure to back up from the door after ringing the doorbell or knocking to allow a safe, 6-foot distance between you and them.

Leave a care package at their door.

Many older people are currently afraid to enter grocery stores or pharmacies to purchase essentials and food for fear of coming into contact with the virus. If you have items at home to spare or are young and healthy and able to pick up a few extra things during your own, necessary trip to the store, consider purchasing groceries for your loved one or neighbor or even just a few items to make them smile. Drop them off at their door with a note so no contact is needed.

Send them links to verified information.

Information – and therefore misinformation – is everywhere right now. Social media is a particular hotbed for articles concerning the pandemic, much of which contains facts that are not verified. Turn to sources like the CDC and share verified information from credible sources with the people you love so they can stay informed but also avoid panic.

Reach out for help.

If you are a caregiver struggling with the challenges of helping a newly homebound elderly loved one, call the VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice Helpline at 866.474.5230 to connect with our Caregiver Support Network for advice. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your primary care physician immediately or call the Yale New Haven Health COVID-19 call center at 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644.)

As a result of the significant financial impact we’re seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have launched a $50,000 comprehensive campaign, We Are Stronger With You: The Campaign for VNA Community Healthcare & Hospice. To learn more about this campaign and to make a donation, click here.

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

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.