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Friday, July 19 News

‘Growing’ VNA Home earns Gold Seal of Approval

VNA Home Inc. in New Milford has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for Home Care Accreditation.

To earn the seal — a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective care — the local agency had to demonstrate continuous compliance with the commission’s performance standards.

During a May 7-8 on-site survey, compliance with home care standards reflecting key organization areas was evaluated, including the provision of care, treatment and services, emergency management, human resources, individual rights and responsibilities and leadership.

The accreditation process also provided VNA Home Inc. with education and guidance to help staff continue to improve its home care program’s performance.

VNA Home Inc., which is affiliated with New Milford VNA & Hospice, provides short- and long-term, non-medical, in-home services for individuals age zero through end of life.

Day and night, hourly or live-in care on a temporary or long-term basis is available through the private duty agency. Offerings include homemaker/companion, personal, and Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

“Staff from across our organization continues to work together to strengthen the continuum of care and to deliver and maintain optimal home care services for those in our community,” said Nichole Brant, program director of VNA Home, Inc.

Brant has been with the agency since its ribbon cutting in March 2014 and has held several roles, including scheduler and client care coordinator. She was named program director last September.

Brant said the agency’s goal is to ensure clients’ needs are met.

“It’s important to try and ensure that they can stay (in their home), if that’s what they want,” said Brant, who grew up in New Milford and Washington.

Arline Hulton, a 99-year-old retired nurse from New Milford, managed the aging process well but recognized four years ago there were some tasks she could no longer do as well, so she reached to VNA Home.

“They offer excellent service,” she said. “They recognize what I want and need and do it.”

Brant said when a client reaches out to the agency, staff will gather information to determine a client’s needs. An in-home assessment will follow and a care plan will be implemented.

All employees are thoroughly screened, undergo a background check and participate in continuing education.

“We are selective in who we hire,” Brant said. “We won’t hire someone I wouldn’t hire for my family.”

Rich Peagler, of upstate New York, praised the agency for its services provided to his mother, Orel Robinson, the past few years.

Robinson’s hospital stay led to time at a skilled care facility before she went home and received services from NMVNA and eventually VNA Home.

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“At every turn, the VNA (and its affiliates) would respond,” Peagler said, noting finding an agency that is accredited and vets its staff was paramount when coordinating care for his mother.

“They’ve been good to my mom and looked out for her safety,” Peagler said, adding that “eases his conscience” since he lives several hours away.

Brant emphasized the ongoing relationship between NMVNA and VNA Home.

If an employee recognizes a change in a client, the agency can refer to a VNA nurse who can conduct an evaluation, potentially avoiding a client trip to the doctor.

The agency can also refer clients to a geriatric care manager, and offer support to low income clients through the There’s Always Hope Fund can provide assistance for low income clients.

Brant said being a part of VNA Home and its growth, including the recent acknowledgment, is rewarding.

“I love being here and growing professionally with this organization, and seeing the organization grow like it has,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

VNA Home, at 1 Old Park Lane Road, Unit #1 in New Milford, can be reached by calling 860-946-6161 or emailing info@vnahome.org. For more information, visit www.vnahome.org.

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