VNA Community Healthcare’s tag line, “Beside You at Every Turn”, summarizes the organization’s vision. When life takes an unexpected turn, VNA Community Healthcare supports patients with the health care and life-at-home services necessary to stay home longer. VNA Community Healthcare staff provides calm and focus to the turmoil that surrounds a family healthcare challenge. As a good neighbor, VNA Community Healthcare helps communities where we live become healthier through our preventive health services, educational programs and support groups. VNA Community Healthcare staff is always available.
VNA Community Healthcare achieves these goals by caring for, supporting, empowering, educating and advocating for members of the community, patients, clients and family caregivers.
In the last year, VNA Community Healthcare clinical team helped 5,700 patients recover and regain their independence, from new moms and babies to frail elderly. VNA Community Healthcare also coached and treated over 650 people who attended community health and wellness programs to reduce stress, improve their level of physical fitness and prevent illness.
VNA Community Healthcare’s award winning, highly effective fall risk program, Fall Free Living has been funded for the past 5 years by a grant from the Connecticut Collaboration for Fall Prevention at Yale University School of Medicine through the Connecticut State Department on Aging. This unique program offers group and individual in-home fall risk screenings and personal recommendations to reduce fall risk. Several Tai Chi and chair exercise classes designed to help participants build and maintain strength and balance are also held throughout the agency's 36 town service area.
VNA Community Healthcare's Family Caregiver Support Network provides free counseling, a toll free “VNA Helpline”, 6 support groups, a walking group, newsletters, seminars and social events to support family caregivers of elderly or disabled family members. During this year the Family Caregiver Network grew to 1,200 people. VNA Community Healthcare also helped seventy-five area eldercare professionals improve their skills and expertise through professional education programs on topics ranging from senior entitlement to elements of normal aging.
In the past year, VNA Community Healthcare has sustained a series of Medicare and Medicaid cuts combined with a shift of patients to lower paying Medicare managed care plans and reductions in grants and town funding. These reductions in income have almost eliminated funds that were previously used for funding uncompensated or subsidized care and community programs.
The clinical home healthcare program provides licensed, Medicare and Medicaid certified, traditional home care services. These services include: visiting nurses, physical, occupational, speech therapy, social work and home health aide services. Specialty programs include: psychiatric nursing, wound care, congestive heart failure disease management, joint replacement education and treatment, pediatric private duty and maternal child health nursing.
How programs are evaluated:
The Family Caregiver Support Network was founded in 2003 to help family caregivers of the elderly or chronically ill better cope, reduce stress, maintain their own health and become better caregivers. The program offers educational seminars; five support groups, led by Social Workers (Guilford, Hamden, Madison, New Haven- Bella Vista, Old Saybrook, North Haven), plus a weekly walking support group in North Branford; a newsletter, a VNA Helpline (a toll free number staffed by VNA Community Healthcare staff that answers questions about home healthcare, entitlements and community services). The Family Caregiver Support Network staff conduct free phone or in-person consultations in which caregivers tell their stories and receive moral support and information about eldercare resources.
This past year, VNA Community Healthcare held 2 open houses, in Guilford and Hamden, with family caregivers to determine if there was a need to establish a Family Caregiver School. It was discovered that many family caregivers are asked to perform medical tasks such as injections, incontinence care and wound care on their own without much help or support. VNA Community Healthcare is going to create a Caregiver School this fall to teach practical tips on caring for people with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure and incontinence. They agency's expert staff will demonstrate helpful techniques such as helping a disabled person transfer or use assistive devices like canes and walkers.
Short term success for family caregivers is usually either relief from a crisis situation or the development of a plan and putting resources in place to help their relative.
The ability of the caregiver to provide the best possible care to their sick or disabled relative, using all available resources and benefits while maintaining the health and wellbeing of the caregiver.
Success is monitored through verbal and written feedback from caregivers, participation in caregiver activities the number of caregivers who use the VNA helpline and who receive caregiver consults.
1.) Guilford Community Fund 2011 Volunteer of the Year
Caregiver Network volunteer Phyllis Abbatello was chosen as Volunteer of the Year by the Guilford Community Fund.
Phyllis has been a loyal supporter of VNA Community Healthcare’s Caregiver Support Network since 2006. She has fine tuned the art of listening and is always willing to share that gift with caregivers in our Network. She takes a genuine interest in everyone she meets and they all get her undivided attention. Phyllis has been “matched” with several of our caregivers as a “buddy”. Buddies are good listeners who understand the challenges of caregiving. Her buddies report that a call from Phyllis is always welcome and helps ease the chaos of a typical day.
2.) Caregivers Grateful for Support
A 90 year old male caregiver was referred to our Caregiver Network by a local senior center. Bill was in poor health and caring for his 90 year old wife Stella who is hard of hearing, has macular degeneration and dementia. Previously, Bill had fallen and Stella did not hear him calling for help. Although Bill was willing to accept that they needed help to remain at home safely, Stella was not.
A caregiver consultation was arranged. John had an opportunity to share his concerns and agreed they should have a personal emergency response system. At the caregiver consult it was also discovered that John and Stella were eligible for prescription drug assistance and they were given the information necessary to get them started.
Their son John, who lives in California, began to participate with the Caregiver Network by phone and received information on resources to help his parents. Gradually, Bill and Stella accepted the help of a homemaker and personal care assistant. By having someone to help his wife, Bill was able to focus more on his own health. Having access to the Caregiver Network eased the frustration and helpless feeling of caregiving at a distance for John.
VNA Community Healthcare has a long history of providing health promotion and disease prevention programs for the community. VNA Community Healthcare has traditionally offered primary prevention level programs such as community blood pressure screenings, cholesterol and diabetes screenings, flu immunizations, stop smoking classes, healthy diet and exercise classes, yoga, massage and other stress management classes. Many of these programs have been funded by grants and town funding.
In recent years, VNA Community Healthcare has offered secondary prevention level wellness programs for people who already have a chronic illness. Most of these programs are evidence-based and are taught by certified instructors. Examples include: Tai Chi for Arthritis, Parkinson’s exercise, diabetes education classes, chronic disease self management and fall risk screening and Tai Chi and other exercise classes to prevent falls. Class participants pay for some of these programs while others are funded by community donations and grants.
VNA Community Healthcare is integrating all of its wellness and chronic disease programs into a three tier system called Ask the Nurse (formerly Well Right Now) that starts with a screening instrument that directs participants to the primary prevention screenings and wellness classes, secondary prevention programs for people with chronic illness or a frailty prevention program for older adults who are at risk of nursing home placement. Blood pressure clinics are being converted to nurse wellness counseling clinics where discharged patients and others with chronic illness can receive health coaching and screening. Health promotion clinical staff are learning to apply the same model of integrated chronic care to clients in community programs and to take referrals of discharged patients from home healthcare staff.
Client self reports of well being and objective measures such as smoking status before and after classes, self reports of falls before and after screening and exercise classes, HgbA1c measures for diabetics before and after classes and rates of hospitalization, preventable complications and emergency room use for chronic disease program participants.
After being discharged from VNA Community Healthcare, Natalie participated in the Living Well Chronic Disease Self Management program. She completed the six session program and achieved her goal of being able to visit her son in Maine and walk up his front steps. She began attending a VNA Community Healthcare Exercise to Prevent Falls class and has gradually increased her fitness and endurance. She became a volunteer for VNA Community Healthcare’s Affiliate, LifeTime Solutions. Natalie also stayed in touch with her Living Well classmates and hosts lunches for them periodically. Natalie has continued to do well and has gotten back in control of her life.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
VNA Home care companies continue to face significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. It is a challenging environment. However, our organization is strong and healthy, and will continue to be a leader in the home care delivery system. The $102,000 difference between projected revenue and projected expense in FY 2017 is our budgeted net income.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
A healthy community is a rich community. When we enjoy good health, when we engage in wellness activities – and when we support people living with disease or disabilities -- there are profound physical and psychological benefits. Simply put, we are all stronger and happier. To support the health and wellness initiatives in your community is to put good health within reach of all.
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