Coronavirus Information

Friday, May 29, 2020 – RVNAhealth has been monitoring news and updates on the COVID-19 front released by organizations including CDC, WHO, FDA, State of CT, and other news sources. Click the button below for the latest news and updates.


At RVNAhealth, the health and safety of our patients and team is always a top priority.  Amid the concerns around Coronavirus, we are ever-monitoring the situation, reinforcing our standard health care protocols both within the RVNAhealth building as well as with our field team, and taking additional steps for extra vigilance. 

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. In additional to our internal measures, we remind all individuals of the following best practices to help keep yourself and others healthy: 

  • Stay home, Stay safe,” per Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive order for non-essential workers to not report to their workplaces.
  • If you must leave your home, do not travel in groups.
  • Keep at least six feet away from others.
  • Cancel/avoid non-essential gatherings of any size.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after visiting the restroom; before eating; after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing or touching your face.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow or a tissue, then discard the tissue in the trash. Clean your hands AGAIN.
  • Use alcohol gel hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available.
  • Utilize disinfectant wipes to wipe down high-touch areas such as counters, keyboards, doorknobs and other areas with frequent hand exposure.
  • Keep hand cleansers with you.
  • If you are sick, stay home; call (do not immediately visit) your health care provider for next steps; limit visitors.
  • Create a household plan of action in case of household illness or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
  • Minimize trips to stores and other public places by keeping an advance supply of medications and groceries on hand.

RVNAhealth COVID-19 Newsletter Updates

The Pulse: May, 2020 – Caring for a Loved One with COVID-19; Daily Living Tips from Our Team

The Pulse: April 23, 2020 – A Video Tribute; Recent Updates; Rehab Center News

The Pulse: April 15, 2020 – Tip of the Day; Recent Updates; Staff Spotlights;

April 2020: The People Edition

The Pulse: March 31, 2020 – RVNAhealth Offers Advanced Care Planning to the Community

The Pulse: March 24, 2020 – RVNAhealth Operations Update; Ask the Chief Clinical Officer; Request for iPads and IPhones

The Pulse: March 19, 2020 – Call for PPE; Additional Statewide Closures

The Pulse: March 9, 2020 – How Infections Occur; Standard Health Protocols; CDC Guidance


If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and feel you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please stay home and call your health care provider or your local Health Department to discuss your options. The CDC provides guidance on symptoms and what to do if you feel sick. Download the CDC’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet from the CDC in English, Spanish, or Chinese.

Video: How to Wash Your Hands

This video is silent, but the messages are loud and clear. Here are valuable insights from the CDC into the hows and whys of proper hand washing.


For further information or with questions, please contact BeWELL@RVNAhealth.org.

Brand New Day. Brand New …

Happy Multigenerational Family

RVNAhealth logoEffective Saturday, October 5, 2019, the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) has changed our name to RVNAhealth. The name change reflects our breadth of services and regional reach, both of which have expanded significantly in the last decades.

RVNAhealth currently serves 35+towns in Connecticut, and offers care and wellness services for all ages, stages and levels of health.  The name change is the culmination of a strategic Rebranding initiative that was launched in 2014. 

Explains Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, RVNAhealth President & CEO, “’Rebranding’ was identified at our 2014 strategic retreat when we recognized that there was an increasing disconnect between our direction – who we are, what we do, where we do it, and where we’re headed – and the name by which we call ourselves.  It warranted examination and action.”

The Evolution of RVNAhealth

RVNAhealth was founded in 1914 as the ‘District Nursing Association’ with a single nurse traveling by foot to serve Ridgefield families in their homes. Over the decades, the organization added community wellness services, as well as public health services for the town of Ridgefield.  Staff increased, offices moved, new towns were added to the service area, and the organization’s name was tweaked -– more than once.

The ‘District Nursing Association’ became the ‘Visiting Nurse Association of Ridgefield’ in 1994 and then the ‘Ridgefield Visiting Nursing Association’ in 2006.

The organization’s growth since 2006 has been particularly remarkable. 

Non-medical caregivers, an outpatient rehabilitation and wellness center, hospice services and an increasing wealth of prevention and wellness services have been added to the organization’s ‘continuum of care.’

Additionally, the RVNAhealth Center for Exceptional Care in Ridgefield CT opened in 2016, offering rehabilitation, nursing services, nutritional counseling and educational programs all on-premises – not to mention housing the administrative staff.

“Our growth has been very organic, in that we have added services in direct response to patient needs and natural evolutions in the landscape of healthcare,” says Santoro. “We have bolstered and refined our services that aid recovery and recuperation, plus added services that focus on prevention, independence, comfort and end-of-life care.” 

It was during this growth spurt that the Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association ‘outgrew’ our name. “As we examined the name, through internal analysis, focus groups, ideation sessions and competitive analysis,” explains Santoro, “it was clear that the geographic and service limitations of the name made it very confusing to the very people we were aiming to serve. It was time for another change.”

Onward Ho!

The new RVNAhealth name and brand are less a shift in direction, and more a formalization of the direction and course the agency has already taken. The new name retains the RVNA legacy and reputation, while expressing the umbrella under which all services reside: Health.  

In addition to the name change, the organization has redefined our overall brand to convey the comprehensive and integrated approach that RVNAhealth brings to care and wellness services.  A new tagline, For Lifelong Care and Wellness, has been added; the look and feel have been updated; and services have been re-categorized to represent the continuum of care that is unique to RVNAhealth. 

The new categories, the WELLs, include:

BEWELL:                     Services to Keep You Healthy

GETWELL:                  Services to Recover your Best Health

STAYWELL:                 Services to Remain Safely in Your Home

COMFORTWELL:       Hospice Care to Provide Comfort and Peace

All current RVNAhealth services reside under these categories. 

No Item Unturned …

The name change announcement was made at the annual RVNAhealth Autumn Dinner on Saturday, October 5, 2019 to an audience of over 200 close friends and supporters.  Following the announcement, the rollout of the brand new name and identify begins with a new website, social media sites, clinical apparel; building signage; printed materials, email addresses, stationery …. You name it, it needs to be updated!

Enjoy the video and let us know what you think!

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2021 Autumn Dinner

If you are interested in supporting the Autumn Dinner, you may make a gift online or complete the form and return to RVNAhealth, 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield, CT.  Should you have any questions, please contact Julia Douglas, Development Manager, at 203.438.5555, x1018 or via email.

 

Direct Access: What it is and why you want to know about it

Much as a dented car does not get fixed by parking it on the side of the road, nor does a body hindered by injury or pain get healed without attention. Injuries and pain require evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.  Lucky for us, the State of Connecticut offers a healthcare benefit that simplifies the process of getting treated. It’s called Direct Access and it’s a benefit worth knowing about.

Direct Access is a statewide program that eliminates the need for a primary care physician referral prior to seeing a Rehabilitation Therapist. The streamlined process — which allows up to six visits with an RVNAhealth physical therapist at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center without a physician referral — is both cost-effective and allows individuals to enjoy swifter diagnosis and relief. In other words, it helps you get better faster.

This little-known benefit began in Connecticut in 2006 to provide patients more immediate diagnosis and relief.  “Direct Access is an expedited way to get to the root cause and treat, rather than just self-diagnose — or ignore — both of which can prolong the issue but are tempting when the process of getting to a therapist is belabored,” says Gigi Weiss, MSPT, RVNAhealth Director of Rehabilitation Therapies. “Ultimately, Direct Access allows you to get in quickly to increase stability, relieve discomfort, and prevent worsening,”

Weiss encourages those with intermittent pain, mild injury, mobility limitations, or other chronic conditions to leverage the Direct Access program not just for minimization of discomfort but for proper diagnosis and treatment. “Often patients self-treat without success because symptoms are not always representative of the core issue,” says Weiss. “For example, neck issues can present as wrist pain so tending to the wrist won’t address the root cause and won’t provide much relief, especially long term. In many cases, the six visits granted through Direct Access get an individual well on their way to healing.”

Direct access can also benefit individuals with lingering difficulties from a health episode, like swallowing, fine motor skills, or communication. In these cases, Direct Access provides a fast track to restorative visits with an appropriate clinician.

At RVNAhealth, the rehabilitation team also collaborates with insurance providers and primary care physicians to coordinate coverage and treatment so patients can focus on wellness. For more information or to schedule a Direct Access assessment, visit RVNAhealth.org/Rehab or call  (203) 438-7862.

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COVID-19 Vaccine: Taking it to the Streets

After a successful run at Yanity Gym in Ridgefield, administering over 11,000 COVID-19 vaccines from January through May 2021, RVNAhealth took the show on the road this June, bringing the vaccine and education to individuals where they live, work — and sometimes even where they play. We’ve administered vaccines in homes and we’ve set up shop at street festivals, schools, churches, libraries, and, of course, the Danbury Farmers’ Market!

And individuals and families have come. Many who want to learn about and receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut have not yet had the opportunity. Real-life obstacles — time, transportation, access — have gotten in the way. “Our work this summer,” says Laura Shulman Cordeira, Director of Community Health & Wellness at RVNAhealth, “is not about volume. It is about finding the pockets of individuals and families who want the vaccine – or want to learn about it – and simply have not had access or opportunity. This work is very important. Everybody who wants the COVID-19 vaccine deserves to get it.”

Whenever possible, RVNAhealth works to offer nutrition along with the vaccine. We’ve partnered with Community Food Rescue, conducted food drives, and at the Farmers’ Market, vaccine recipients are given $10 vouchers to shop at the Market following their shot.

RVNAhealth’s work in Danbury is made possible through the generosity of the Danbury Health Equity Grant and in collaboration with the many Danbury partners who support it, including: Danbury Health Department; Connecticut Institute for Communities (CIFC); Community Health Center of Danbury; Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut; and RVNAhealth. 

2021 Mary Edna Cargill Scholarships Announced

This June, RVNAhealth was delighted to honor our 2021 Mary Edna Cargill Scholarship recipients. The Mary Edna Cargill Scholarships are awarded each year to deserving Bethel residents who are enrolled in, or pursuing, degrees in a health-related field.Continue reading

Welcome Sophia!

On June 8th, we welcomed a very special addition to our RVNAhealth team —  Sophia, our very own therapy dog! There have been lots of ooohs and aaahs around the RVNAhealth offices since she arrived and several weeks later, it still takes Sophia quite a while to get to her desk in the morning — what with all the greetings and affection.

Sophia, a golden retriever, is two years old and has been in training since her birth.  She was originally intended to be a seeing eye dog, but her calm demeanor and mild pace ultimately destined her to be the perfect facility/therapy dog.

Prior to her arrival in the office, our three RVNAhealth handlers, Stephanie Notaro, Hospice Volunteer Coordinator; Stephanie Collins, BeWELL Coordinator; and Garrett Walkup, Hospice Pastoral Care Coordinator received extensive training with Sophia at ECAD — Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities.  They all passed their final exams, and graduation took place on June 16th. It was a lovely ceremony with four other graduates alongside our Sophia. It wasn’t announced officially, but we suspect she was the valedictorian. She’s awfully smart. 

Since her arrival, Sophia has been busy getting acquainted with the RVNAhealth Ridgefield and New Milford offices, her working role, and her handlers. She has been on hospice patient visits, has visited Ridgefield Crossings and Wilton Meadows, and has chaperoned at COVID-19 vaccine appointments. We’re looking forward to bringing her to all the towns we serve. Sophia truly comes to life when she’s doing her job.  As should we all! 

In the weeks and months to come, she’ll be going to volunteer events, bereavement groups, and community education and outreach events.  As Sophia’s schedule fills up and we introduce her to society, we’ll keep you posted on opportunities to say hello. She’s quite a darling. Check out the photos below.

 

RVNAhealth Heads to the Ball Fields

We all need children in our lives, which is why RVNAhealth was especially honored and happy to sponsor a minor league team in the New Milford Youth Baseball and Softball League this past spring. RVNAhealth and New Milford Visiting Nurse & Hospice merged last November, opening the way for expansion teams and brand new sponsorships. Go team! Continue reading