"VNA provides quality care. They are professional and are good people to deal with."
- Lucy - VNA Home Health Services client
In Central Intake, we receive the first contact from a client's hospital, doctor, family member or caregiver, who are inquiring on their behalf about our services, including home health and hospice. We work to make sure referrals are seen in a timely manner so that our clients receive the care they deserve at home. Ultimately, we want to make sure clients, their families and their referral sources are satisfied with our care, which means involving everyone in the treatment process.
“As a supervisor and a nurse, I know how important it is for our clinical staff to have the most accurate, up-to-date information on each client before visiting them. It's a team effort to know our clients well, so that they know they can trust us before we even walk through their door.”
– Maria Bowen
Nurses who visit patients in their homes are able to provide a comprehensive assessment that allows patients to remain there safely. We provide the tools and education to clients and their families regarding diagnosis and medications. In a way, a visit from one of our nurses is like an extension of an appointment with a physician. Being in the home setting allows for greater retention of information, as we are able to spend more time with each patient. We also perform clinical duties, such as IV tests, and elaborate on ways the client can maintain their best health at home.
"When I'm visiting a patient in their home, I feel like I get the broader picture of their everyday life and struggles. Being available and letting a patient know that you are compassionate and understanding in their time of need, as well as an avenue to help them get better, is something we all strive to do. We serve those that are in a greater need than ourselves."
– Christie Blanchard
In Physical Therapy, we visit patients at their home after they have been referred by a hospital or a rehabilitation center. We examine them and determine what impairments they have that make it difficult for them to function in their home and community. Then, we and the patient create a plan to meet their functional goals, such as walking independently outside or taking a bus into town, and work together toward it.
"I really try to understand what the client is going through. They are at the center of our care. That's why they develop their goals, not us. Together, we establish what they want to accomplish, and do it as a partnership."
– Bill Anderson
Nurses who specialize in wound care visit patients in their homes and consult with others who care for them to determine the best treatment routine for each person. We also provide education, as we teach patients how to heal wounds and how to prevent future wounds. It's important that we encourage patients during the healing process or when they are making improvements in their life that will help their medical condition. Basically, we feel that we are guests in the home of each patient we visit, and we do our best to be respectful.
"I really do enjoy my work, and feel like I am truly helping people. Honestly, I get a lot more out of these experiences than I give, because I meet such interesting patients, their family members and even their pets. I work to empower people to be able to help themselves."
– Leann Thayer
Our job is to get people back to living their lives as normally as possible after they have experienced an injury or life-changing diagnosis. We visit clients in their homes and observe how they perform basic daily tasks like showering, dressing, preparing meals, and moving around safely. If they need help with something, such as picking up items from the floor, we make adaptations and develop strategies so they can accomplish these tasks safely. We also perform cognitive assessments to ensure that each client is actually capable of completing tasks, including taking the proper medications, and work with their nurses to determine how we can best assist them in this.
"In occupational therapy, we really look at the whole person, including their mental health, physical health and also how they are thinking about these changes in their lives. I try to approach each client with the knowledge of how hard it is to alter our habits and accommodate major changes in one's body. I let them know that while they have to make changes, we will work together."
– Tyche Hotchkiss
Our outreach and education work focuses on helping people understand all of the services we offer. We interact with many people through our community clinics and corporate wellness trainings in the work place. In-service education is provided at nursing and assisted living facilities and doctors' offices. We also meet with clients in their homes about their individual needs for home care. By communicating openly in a variety of settings, we can enhance the quality care we strive to give, while making sure everything is connected for the patients, each step of the way.
"Whether I'm speaking at an In-Service, with a provider, or with a patient and their family, my goal is to offer information about how our services can improve the quality of life for the patients we serve. I think the key in all these settings is listening to really understand what is wanted and needed. "
– Robin Wright
Social workers do a little of everything. We visit clients in their homes to assess their situation and provide the resources they need. If they are homeless we work to find them housing; if they are in need of in-home support services, like bathing, we provide those. We also work with client's families and provide counseling in certain situations, sometimes making several visits to the same home. We also try to assess their financial status to help them figure out what they can afford. Throughout our work, we partner with several senior agencies in the area to provide the best care and resources available.
"I feel that I am helping to make their quality of life a little better. Providing emotional support is a big part of that. I try to figure out what they need and provide the best resources to do it, so they will gain independence."
– Denise Boisse
Nurses working in Community Health have regular office hours, when patients can come in for blood pressure and heart rate checks, blood draws, or just to ask questions. We also provide education and hold flu clinics for the public and nursing clinics at senior housing facilities. We get to know the residents of the housing facilities well, and they get to know us. This fosters a relationship of trust. Our work helps people and there's a real benefit to the community, but it's fulfilling for us as well.
"I feel like I'm performing services that help people stay healthy and in their homes. They know they can come to me with concerns and questions. Sometimes folks just need a compassionate ear to listen and support them, and I provide that."
– Barbara Pires
Our hospice staff is a team. We have nurses, known as case managers, and also social workers, home health aides, volunteers and a chaplain that visit clients who have life limiting diseases, such as cancer. We visit our clients whether they are in their own home, a nursing facility, assisted living facility or a hospital. The nurses perform pain and symptom management and work through related issues, like discomfort. Education is a part of our work too, as we teach end of life care and work with our clients' families. But we also learn – from our clients and their families. They teach us many things, such as how to listen. We strive to provide them with our best support.
"You have to be compassionate and open-minded as a hospice nurse. There is definitely a spiritual component to consider. My philosophy is that hospice care is here for the spiritual, mental and physical elements – head to toe care. I always say that 5 percent of hospice care is pain and symptom management, while 95 percent is spiritual. I am here to help them live until they die."
– Jamie Adamo
As Home Health aides, we assist clients with daily tasks, such as bathing, helping with wound care or light meal preparation. We also look around their home for potential safety issues. Our department helps to balance many of the other departments at VNA, since we spend so much time with patients in such a personalized setting. They often open up to us and tell us how they are feeling. We observe when patients experience changes in mood or behavior and can communicate this information to their nurse. We also note how patients in a hospice situation are responding, and work to make this a peaceful time for them.
"I like to kid around a lot and take my clients out of their world a bit. They get to know me and we have a good time. Providing good quality care sometimes means just sitting and talking with them; showing I truly care about what is going on in their lives."
– Judy Wyman