Below is a copy of a letter from CVHHH’s President & CEO, Sandy Rousse, to Central Vermonters. It appeared in the Times-Argus on Saturday, November 19, 2022.
I recently shared a story with colleagues about my brother, who struggles with severe mental illness and is currently homeless. I shared his story to illustrate the life-changing benefits of the visiting nurse association (VNA) approach to care. Though my brother lives out of state, I see so many parallels between the care he received and the care CVHHH’s clinicians and staff deliver to Central Vermonters at home.
Earlier this fall, my brother was admitted to the hospital with a severe infection. The providers at the hospital seemed uncertain of what to do to support him so he could safely be discharged. After 10 days in the hospital, they hadn’t considered a discharge to temporary housing with VNA services until I asked about this option. Working with the Care Management team, I found my brother safe housing, and I called the VNA where he lives.
I was not surprised that the VNA providers knew what to do and that they worked with him and treated him like a human being instead of telling him what he needed to do. They took time to understand him, as he was often misunderstood. They also ensured he saw a doctor for the first time in eight years, made him dentist and eye appointments, and assigned him to a social worker. His infections and wounds healed successfully, and he continues to have physical therapy services to improve his mobility and attend his doctor appointments as scheduled.
In the home care world, we treat the whole patient at once (instead of symptom by symptom) and we do it in a place where people are comfortable, at home. The clinicians that cared for my brother, like CVHHH’s visiting staff, understand that a person’s medical issues are linked to their life circumstances and to social determinants like access to healthy food and exercise, housing, education, economic status, and employment opportunity. Unlike in other provider environments, home care clinicians can give patients 100% of their attention. In collaboration with their patients, they can develop a comprehensive care plan and bring in additional support from their home care peers (rehab therapists, social workers, aides) and from community partners to set a person up for long-term success.
Over the past year, CVHHH’s employees cared for over 3,100 individuals, an increase of 10% from the prior year, and provided over 74,000 home visits across our programs. In addition, we strengthened relationships with valuable community partners like the Family Center of Washington County, Good Samaritan Haven, People’s Health and Wellness, and local EMS crews as we expanded our footprint to bring care to people in transitional and temporary housing. Our Complex Care Coordinator provided several hundred hours of unbillable care coordination time to Central Vermonters at high risk of hospitalization. In many ways, 2022 felt reassuringly familiar. This is thanks to our staff, who face challenges – including a global pandemic and serious workforce shortages – head on because they care about this community, and they know how important it is that our patients get timely care.
Our clinicians embody CVHHH’s mission everyday as they bring high-quality medical and specialty care, education, and support home to Central Vermonters. Like the clinicians who cared for my brother, our staff go above and beyond every day to care for people in need and to put care and other supports in place to help Central Vermonters heal and maintain their health, wellness, and independence.
As I look ahead to Thanksgiving next week, I want to share my sincere gratitude to our staff. Thank you for bringing kindness, compassion, and high-quality care to Central Vermonters at home. Your work is invaluable.
On behalf of CVHHH’s Board, leadership team, and staff, have a happy and a safe Thanksgiving.