Miscellaneous Health Information

VNAHSR Named Top Agency for Tenth Year

The Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice of the Southwest Region (VNAHSR) today announced that it has been named as a Top 100 and 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 agencies and highlighted the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall. The VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region has been recognized for ten out of the last 12 years.

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 the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region 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 100 home care agencies in the country.”

Ronald J. Cioffi, RN, and CEO of the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region credits the commitment of the staff and high standards of quality with the agency’s ability to achieve recognition as one of the HomeCare Elite. “I am so very proud of the work we do and this distinguished award honors the achievement of a very dedicated and engaged staff,” says Cioffi. “Healthcare today is being redefined, yet the VNA model of care of experience and expertise in the home setting has stayed especially relevant. This valued recognition of home-based health care is particularly meaningful as we continue to grow to meet the needs of our community.”

“Congratulations to those leading agencies that earned a spot on the list of the top 100 HomeCare Elite,” said Marci Heydt, senior content manager for DecisionHealth. “The Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Southwest Region and its peers have worked hard to improve quality outcomes, 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 abilitynetwork.com/homecare-elite.

Free Guide to Caregiving

Click here to download our free Caregivers Guide

Download Our Free Guide

The care giving role may be something you’ve done most of your life or it may be a new experience. Regardless of your experience, providing care for a loved one can be highly stressful, whether your family member lives with you, next door or thousands of miles away. In this guide, you’ll find advice and expertise that will help you improve the care you provide for a loved one – and provide direction in finding the most appropriate care for them.
Call us if someone you love needs help at home. 1.800.244.0568

 

Free Community Forum June 8: Palliative Care, Advance Directives and Planning for End-of-Life Care

Do you know what kind of medical care you would want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes?

On June 8, the Bennington office of the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region and Brookdale at Fillmore Pond will sponsor a free community forum on the value of palliative care and the importance of advance healthcare decision-making.

The session will be held at noon at Brookdale at Fillmore Pond on 300 Village Lane in Bennington, Vermont. Allen Hutcheson, MD and Diane E. Smith, MD, physicians affiliated with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center will provide information on palliative care and the importance of documenting your healthcare wishes.

The session is free and open to the public and lunch will be served. To reserve your place, call 802.447.7000 before June 5.

VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region Recognizes Dedicated, Exemplary Employees

Employees of the Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of the Southwest Region (VNAHSR) took center stage at the Equinox Hotel for the agency’s annual employee award celebration. The yearly event recognizes employees who have reached years-of-service milestones and highlights employees for specific awards: the Employee of the Year, Unforgettable Employee(s) and HEALTH Matters Award Winners.

This year, 34 employees received special recognition with Colleen Moore as the recipient of the award for 40 years of service, others included: one 35-year award; one 30-year; three 25-year; four 20-year; nine 15-year; three 10 year and 11 five year.

Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator Andrew Carlson was named VNAHSR’s 2016 Employee of the Year; and Laura Gillis, Scott Tommola, Roxanne Kalifen, Wendy Daley, Patty Andrews and Susie Senecal were honored as the HEALTH Matters award winners. Arlene Ladd and Colleen Moore were recognized with the Unforgettable Awards.

The Employee of the Year is selected from nominations submitted by their colleagues based on their commitment to exceeding expectations in their work and in support or comfort of patients and their families. The HEALTH Matters awards are selected from a monthly recognition program, and awards recipients who emulate the core values of Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership, Teamwork, and Helpfulness.

Ron Cioffi, CEO personally presented gifts of appreciation to longtime employees and announced the winners. The celebration is held each May during the organization’s week long celebration to recognize employees and for years of service and for outstanding performance.

Andrew Carlson Named Top Employee

The Employee of the Year Award recognizes an employee whose work exemplifies the values of respect and dignity of the individual, excellence, honesty and fairness, stewardship of resources, and teamwork. Earning the award this year is Andrew Carlson, who joined VNAHSR in 2015 as Hospice Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator.

In his role, Andrew was honored as a patient advocate, hospice team member, and leader.

In his nominations as Employee of the Year, several people noted Andrew’s deep compassion, “Andrew sees hospice patients and families at a critical juncture in their lives…he gently helps them providing amazing care, compassion, and service when they need it most. He is a strong, positive ambassador for the hospice program and our agency in the community. He holds weekly bereavement support group meetings and works with other local agencies who need his special kind of care.”

“The dedication and patient-focused commitment shown by our employees is an inspiration. All of our employees, no matter where they work in the organization, have the opportunity to have a positive impact on the care we provide our patients,” said Ron Cioffi, CEO of the VNAHSR. “We are honored that each of them, especially those honored at our recognition dinner, joins us in our mission and commitment to the health of our communities.”

 

VNA of the Southwest Region Named a Top 100 Performing Agency in National Rankings

 

 

hce2016_top100The VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region, with offices in Rutland, Bennington and Dorset, announced today that it has been named to the Top 100 of the 2016 HomeCare Elite®, a recognition of the top-performing home health agencies in the United States. For more than ten years, HomeCare Elite has annually identified the top 25 percent of agencies and highlights the top 100 and top 500 agencies overall.

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, The Complete Home Health ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Coding Manual and The Home Health Coding Center.

“Improving quality of care and the patient experience continue to underpin a rapidly evolving healthcare environment,” said Christine Lang, Senior Director, Product Management, for ABILITY Network. “At the same time tracking, measuring and interpreting data that support these efforts is becoming more complex. The 2016 HomeCare Elite winners have demonstrated the highest-quality care in their communities, which is a remarkable achievement. We congratulate the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region and its locations in Rutland, Bennington and Dorset on being one of the top 100 home care agencies in the country.”

Ronald J. Cioffi, RN and CEO of the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region credits the hard work of the staff and high standards of quality with the agency’s ability to achieve recognition as one of the HomeCare Elite. “I am so very proud of the work we do and this distinguished award honors the achievement of a very committed and engaged staff,” says Cioffi. “Our dedication to providing quality, compassionate care not only positively impacts our patients, but also contributes to the health and wellness of our communities.”

“We are proud to recognize the top 100 HomeCare Elite agencies for demonstrating a commitment to improving quality patient care at low costs. The clinical best practices and data tracking skills these agencies have implemented can position them for future success in government programs such as value-based purchasing and star ratings,” said Marci Heydt, Senior Content Manager, DecisionHealth.

Winners are ranked by an analysis of publicly available performance measures in quality outcomes, best practice (process measure) implementation, patient experience (Home Health CAHPS®), quality improvement and consistency, and financial performance. In order to be considered, an agency must be Medicare-certified and have data for at least one outcome in Home Health Compare. Out of 9,406 agencies considered, 2,353 are recognized on the 2016 HomeCare Elite winners list overall.

The entire list of 2016 HomeCare Elite agencies can be downloaded by visiting the ABILITY Network website at abilitynetwork.com/homecare-elite.

About the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region

The VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region (VNAHSR) , is a non-profit, Medicare-certified home health and hospice agency delivering a wide-range of advanced medical care with compassion, dependability and expertise to people of all ages who need home and community health services.  With locations in Bennington, Dorset and Rutland, VNAHSR is one of the largest in-home care providers in Southern Vermont. VNAHSR has over 350 expert health professionals and caregivers committed to providing exceptional care to patients, their caregivers and families and strengthening relationships with referring physicians throughout Rutland and Bennington Counties.

With a national reputation for quality care, VNAHSR is the first and only agency in Vermont to achieve a 4.5 star rating out of five for Quality of Patient Care from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is a recognized as one of the nation’s 100 top-performing home health agencies, by HomeCare Elite, a market-leading review that identifies the top 25 percent of all Medicare-certified agencies and further highlights the nation’s top 100 and top 500 agencies.

About ABILITY Network

ABILITY® Network is a leading healthcare information technology company helping providers and payers simplify the administrative and clinical complexities of healthcare through innovative applications and data analytics. ABILITY is headquartered in Minneapolis with principal offices in Boston and Tampa. For more information visit www.abilitynetwork.com or write to resources@abilitynetwork.com.

For more information about HomeCare Elite, call 888.572.4009, write to HomeCareElite@abilitynetwork.com or visit www.abilitynetwork.com/hce.

About DecisionHealth®

For over 30 years, DecisionHealth has served as the home care industry’s leading source for analysis and tools to improve revenue cycle performance, profitability, regulatory compliance and quality patient care. Agencies nationwide turn to DecisionHealth for education and training, coding and billing solutions, and ongoing expert guidance through its family of online products, print solutions, and live training events. DecisionHealth also certifies home health agency professionals in ICD-10 coding and OASIS-C2 through its Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC), and provides custom consulting services to agency leaders through its DecisionHealth Professional Services unit. For product information, call 1-855-CALL-DH1 or visit www.decisionhealth.com.

 

 

Seniors and Depression – A Common Problem

Depression is a medical illness in which a person has persistent feelings of sadness, discouragement and little self-worth. Depression in the elderly is a widespread problem, but is often not recognized or treated.

Causes of Depression

In the elderly, a number of life changes can increase the risk for depression, or make existing depression worse. Some of these changes are:

  • Adapting to a move from home to an apartment or retirement facility
  • Chronic pain
  • Feelings of isolation or loneliness as children move away and their spouse and close friends die
  • Loss of independence (problems getting around, caring for themselves, or driving)
  • Multiple illnesses
  • Struggles with memory loss and problems thinking clearly

Depression can be a sign of a physical illness. It can be a psychological reaction to the illness, or directly caused by the physical illness. Sometimes, symptoms of depression are a side effect of many drugs commonly prescribed for the elderly.

Many older people will not admit to feeling depressed, for fear that they will be seen as “weak” or “crazy.” Some older people will not report their depression because they believe that feeling sad is “normal,” or that nothing can be done about it.

Learn and Understand the Symptoms

Depression in the elderly may be hard to detect. Common symptoms such as fatigue, appetite loss, and trouble sleeping can be part of the aging process or a physical illness. As a result, early depression may be ignored, or confused with other conditions that are common in the elderly.

Clues to depression in the elderly may include:

  • Being more confused or forgetful.
  • Eating less. The refrigerator may be empty or contain spoiled food.
  • Not keeping up with personal hygiene.
  • Not taking care of the home.
  • Stopping medicines or not taking them correctly.
  • Withdrawing from others. Not talking as much, and not answering the phone or returning phone calls.

Exams and Tests

A discussion of your symptoms along with a physical exam can help determine if a physical illness is causing the depression.

Sometimes your primary care doctor will send you to an expert in depression, to help with diagnosis and treatment. This may be especially useful for telling the difference between depression and normal grieving, which occurs more often in this age group.

Treatment

The first step is to address any physical illnesses and stop taking any medications that may be making your symptoms worse.

If these steps do not relieve the depression, antidepressant medications and talking through problems (psychotherapy) with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other therapist is usually helpful.

Antidepressant drug therapy should be carefully monitored for side effects, which can be more common in the elderly. Doctors usually prescribe lower doses of antidepressants for older people, and increase the dose more slowly than in younger adults.

To better manage depression at home, elderly people should:

  • Exercise regularly, seek out pleasurable activities, and maintain good sleep habits.
  • Learn to watch for the early signs of depression, and know how to react if it gets worse.
  • Minimize alcohol use and avoid illegal drugs which can make depression worse over time.
  • Surround themselves with people who are caring and positive.
  • Talk about their feelings to someone they trust.
  • Take medications correctly and learn how to manage side effects.

Outlook

Depression usually responds to treatment. If it is not detected, depression can lead to complications. The outcome is usually better for people who have access to social services, family, and friends who can help them stay active and engaged.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you feel persistently sad, worthless, or hopeless, or if you cry often. Also call if you are having trouble coping with stresses in your life and want to be referred for talk therapy.

If you are caring for an aging family member and think they may have depression, contact their health care provider.

Prevention

Staying physically, mentally, and socially active may help reduce the risk of depression in older age.

 

Learn about end-of-life care decisions, such as advance directives,

In life we prepare for everything… college, marriage, children, retirement.

But we seldom talk about preparing for the end.

Few people know their end-of-life options and still fewer have discussed their wishes with their doctor and family. Planning for end of life care is as important as all the other life plans people make. Having a plan makes it easier for you, your doctor and your loved ones if, in the future, decisions about treatment need to be made at a time when you are unable to.   Click on this link and watch RAVNAH’s Home Care Connection program on PEGTV Channel 15…and learn how to Start the Conversation.

 

How to Tell When It’s Time for Professional Home Health Care

As people age, they naturally want to continue living independently and self-sufficiently in their own homes, with their familiar personal belongings, pets, and/or family close by.

All too often, though, the very fact of aging affects people’s abilities to care for themselves and manage their daily living. This can create health and safety concerns.

Many adult children become their aging parents’ primary caregivers, taking on all the responsibilities that go with keeping up the quality of their parents’ lives. When self-care becomes progressively too difficult for an older person, or when adult children become overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities, it is time to consider professional home health care.

These common signs may also indicate the need for professional assistance:

Inability to manage personal care:

  • The person does not bathe, groom, and perform oral hygiene.
  • The person does not dress appropriately.
  • He or she becomes incontinent and is unable to cleanse properly.
  • The person forgets to eat, does not eat nutritious meals, and loses weight.
  • He or she forgets to take medication, is confused about what to take and when, or is unable to administer injections or change bandages.

Inability to manage functional activities of daily living:

  • The person doesn’t do laundry, or doesn’t change clothing or linens.
  • He or she lets dirty dishes and garbage pile up.
  • The person leaves the stove and other appliances on, creating a safety hazard.
  • He or she is unable to do grocery shopping.
  • He or she is unable to use the telephone.
  • The person doesn’t pay bills or manage money properly.

Change in emotional, mental or physical condition:

  • The person has difficulty understanding others.
  • The person has difficulty remembering names, situations, and locations.
  • He or she gets lost easily.
  • The person starts to wander.
  • The person has sudden mood swings, becoming angry or depressed.
  • He or she falls down often.
  • He or she becomes isolated, cutting off social contacts.
  • The person is incapable of making decisions.
  • He or she suffers a stroke, loss of limb, or other major physical impairment.

If you think it may be time for professional home health care, Bennington Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice can help. Call us at 802.442.5502.

How to Tell When It’s Time for Professional Home Health Care

As people age, they naturally want to continue living independently and self-sufficiently in their own homes, with their familiar personal belongings, pets, and/or family close by.

All too often, though, the very fact of aging affects people’s abilities to care for themselves and manage their daily living. This can create health and safety concerns.

Many adult children become their aging parents’ primary caregivers, taking on all the responsibilities that go with keeping up the quality of their parents’ lives. When self-care becomes progressively too difficult for an older person, or when adult children become overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities, it is time to consider professional home health care.

These common signs may also indicate the need for professional assistance:

Inability to manage personal care:

  • The person does not bathe, groom, and perform oral hygiene.
  • The person does not dress appropriately.
  • He or she becomes incontinent and is unable to cleanse properly.
  • The person forgets to eat, does not eat nutritious meals, and loses weight.
  • He or she forgets to take medication, is confused about what to take and when, or is unable to administer injections or change bandages.

Inability to manage functional activities of daily living:

  • The person doesn’t do laundry, or doesn’t change clothing or linens.
  • He or she lets dirty dishes and garbage pile up.
  • The person leaves the stove and other appliances on, creating a safety hazard.
  • He or she is unable to do grocery shopping.
  • He or she is unable to use the telephone.
  • The person doesn’t pay bills or manage money properly.

Change in emotional, mental or physical condition:

  • The person has difficulty understanding others.
  • The person has difficulty remembering names, situations, and locations.
  • He or she gets lost easily.
  • The person starts to wander.
  • The person has sudden mood swings, becoming angry or depressed.
  • He or she falls down often.
  • He or she becomes isolated, cutting off social contacts.
  • The person is incapable of making decisions.
  • He or she suffers a stroke, loss of limb, or other major physical impairment.

If you think it may be time for professional home health care, Bennington Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice can help. Call us at 802.442.5502.

Page 1 of 3123