Hail to the RVNAhealth Nurses!

This May, in recognition of National Nurses Week and Month and the extraordinary work we have been doing for the last year —indeed the last century! — RVNAhealth became a participating member in the DAISY Award program, an international initiative founded to express gratitude to nurses for the extraordinary skillful and compassionate care they provide to patients and families.  In launching this program, RVNAhealth joins nearly 5,000 healthcare facilities and schools who participate in the program.

The program – officially called The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses – was founded in 1999 by the family of Patrick Barnes, who witnessed exceptional nursing care for Patrick during the final weeks of his life. Patrick succumbed to an autoimmune disease at the age of 33 and hence the DAISY — Diseases Attacking the Immune System — Award was born. Since 1999, the DAISY Award has flourished and is now awarded in all 50 states and in over 25 countries. Being named a DAISY nurse is a life-long designation.

For the inaugural round of the DAISY Award, RVNAhealth clinical team members were invited to submit nominations for their colleagues and team members across the GetWELL (home health) and ComfortWELL (hospice) disciplines, extolling the professionalism, dedication, drive, and genuine kindness that our team witnesses daily in their co-workers. The nominations were then reviewed blindly — with names anonymous — by an RVNAhealth DAISY Award committee who selected the DAISY honorees.

The May 2021 inaugural RVNAhealth DAISY Award honorees are: Kate Anthony, RN, GetWELL Home Health (pictured above, at right) and Adriana Clesidor, RN, ComfortWELL Hospice care (pictured above, at left). Both Kate Anthony and Adriana Clesidor received not only heartfelt and glowing nominations from their colleagues, they also received multiple nominations each.

Anthony, a biology major who started her career in Human Resources before returning to school for a nursing degree, is famous among the RVNAhealth team for her intense dedication to her patients, and her persistence in getting a job well done.  Kate Anthony is not only an excellent and skilled nurse, her sensitivity and compassion are boundless.

Likewise, Adriana.

Prior to finding her place in hospice care, Adriana worked in many other venues —a jail, a hospital, a nursing home, and with a state department of mental health. But Adriana was after people, more than paperwork, and she sought the human connection. At RVNAhealth, she has found it in hospice care. And Adriana is single-minded about helping patients ‘wrap up their lives’ with pride, dignity, and a recognition of the value they have brought to their worlds.

“The DAISY Award,’ says RVNAhealth Chief Clinical Officer, Keri Linardi, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPCA, “unites nurses across an agency, but also connects them to the universe of nurses and recognizes and honors them among their peers. It’s a special tradition and one that we are proud to introduce to RVNAhealth.”  Daisy Award Honorees receive many benefits for their lifetime, including reduced tuition at Chamberlain University College of Nursing, special invitations from professional nursing organizations, access to scholarships and grants, and more.

In addition to Kate Anthony, RN, and Adriana Clesidor, RN, the following RVNAhealth nurses received DAISY Award Nominations:

GetWELL (Home Health)

  • Jackie Belowich, RN
  • Ashley Dibble, RN
  • Brenda Kimberly, LPN
  • Autumn Longo, RN
  • Amy Maier, RN

ComfortWELL (Hospice)

  • Tashanda Benjamin, LPN
  • Tammi Book, BSN, RN
  • Karyn Doherty, LPN
  • Lauren Messina, MA, BSN, RN
  • Catherine Peru, BSN, RN
  • Nancy Schaffer, BSN, RN
  • Karen Tiberi, BSN, RN
  • Jessica Velasco, RN

Moving forward, DAISY Awards will be actively encouraged from the entire RVNAhealth organization, as well as from patients, family members, and physicians who experience or observe extraordinary compassionate care being provided by a nurse. RVNAhealth is also adding a DAISY Award category for our BeWELL team nurses, who represent RVNAhealth in the community.

RVNAhealth Talks OT on ‘Lutheran Home Live’

Recently RVNAhealth had a chance to discuss Occupational Therapy with Wendy Mutter, Marketing Director and Admissions Liaison from Lutheran Home of Southbury.  Wendy hosts a regular series called Lutheran Home Live, profiled on Southbury.com, aiming to educate the Southbury public on available health and aging services.  Danielle Taibi MOTR/L, CDP (below, left), a licensed Occupational Therapist since 2013 and Home Health Aide Supervisor for RVNAhealth StayWELL Services, had a chance to talk about RVNAhealth services and cover the basics of Occupational Therapy and its approach.

Danielle Taibi, MOTR/L, CDP

Danielle began by explaining the difference between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy – a topic very often misunderstood.  Occupational Therapy often focuses on addressing an injury or illness that has disrupted a person’s normal activities of daily life – activities as basic as eating, bathing, dressing, for example – and then helping that person regain function.  Typically, a physical therapist and an occupational therapist will have the same goals for a patient’s recovery, but their approach and techniques will differ.  Occupational Therapy focuses less on bio-mechanical exercise — typical of physical therapy — and more on common meaningful activities and fine motor skills to help one regain their optimal function.  Danielle provided the example of using laundry folding as a functional Occupational Therapy technique to work on a person’s range of motion improvement.

Falls prevention was another topic discussed and of frequent importance to Occupational Therapists working in the home.  More than 1 in 4 older adults fall every year and 60% of these falls happen in the home.  When an Occupational Therapist enters a home to work on mobility issues, falls prevention is a priority and can be addressed through a home assessment.  An Occupational Therapist can identify risks in the home and make recommendations, often starting with the removal or securing of area rugs and electrical wires and assessing the bathroom for possible assistance equipment needs or grab bars.  While often simple recommendations, changes such as these can make a significant difference to remaining safe in one’s home.

RVNAhealth offers Occupational Therapy services both in the home and at our outpatient Rehabilitation & Wellness Center, located in Ridgefield.  Please visit our website to learn more about RVNAhealth’s Occupational Therapy services and team.  And for more information specific to falls prevention, please see RVNAhealth’s recent Falls Prevention webinar.

Thank you to Wendy Mutter of the Lutheran Home of Southbury for profiling Occupational Therapy and RVNAhealth.  And thank you to On the Mend Medical Supplies & Equipment for hosting the interview in their wonderful store in Southbury.  You can view the full video interview here.

For more information on Occupational Therapy or other services provided by RVNAhealth, please email or contact us at 203-438-5555 x2.

Community Food Drive in Progress!

This summer, RVNAhealth is partnering with the Danbury Health Department to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine reaches underserved communities where obstacles, such as time, transportation, information, and access, are preventing people from getting vaccinated.Continue reading

Sammi McLemore Gets to the Root of the Problem

Historically, RVNAhealth has served a predominately ‘mature’ crowd, representative of many of those in need of visiting nursing and rehabilitation for illness and injury. But over the decades, as we all began to realize that prevention is as important as treatment,  RVNAhealth has added numerous services and programs appropriate for all ages — well child physicals and immunizations, flu shots, travel health, and Nurse-Family Partnership to name a few.

So now it’s not uncommon to see youthful faces on premises and at our clinics and programs. And it’s still always a delight.  Recently, we spied Ridgefield High School senior, Samantha (Sammi) McLemore in the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center keeping pace on the treadmill.

Sammi, who has been running for four years, was at RVNAhealth for a running assessment with Kate Campbell, DPT, hoping to get some insight into a recurring injury that wasn’t going away. “I had no idea what I was doing wrong,” she explains, “and how I could strengthen my weaknesses to avoid future injury.”  Sammi came to RVNAhealth to get to the root of the problem.

“I learned which muscle was the cause of my pain and how to address my problem. The exercises and personal plan I received will set me on a path to recovery and injury-free running!,” she says. “Also, it was really helpful to go over the exercises in person and see the pictures that illustrated how my form was hurting rather than helping my running.”

“It’s always inspiring to work with athletes, but runners have a special sensibility,” says physical therapist Kate Campbell, whose focus is on comprehensive sports injury therapy and prevention education and programming.  “They are extremely motivated to address an injury or issue, so they can return to full form. Not running for an extended length of time, is not an appealing option for them.”

But a runner needn’t wait for an injury to get a running assessment.  “I would completely recommend going for an analysis even if you aren’t injured,” say Sammi, “to see what you can do to prevent future injuries and fix any problems!”

Excellent idea! To learn more or schedule a running assessment, call the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center at 203-438-7862.


Cheers! The 2021 RHS Interns are Here!

There’s warmth in the air, spring fever is upon us, and the Ridgefield High School Interns are in the building. All in all, cause for celebration. This year, RVNAhealth welcomes RHS seniors Isabella DeMassa and Ally Rosenbaum. Both will be studying health-related fields in college, and both are truly appreciated this next month.Continue reading

Rotary Club of Ridgefield Renews Support

The Rotary Club of Ridgefield recently renewed its support of RVNAhealth with a $7,000 grant to support the organization’s COVID-19 community response initiatives.*  RVNAhealth began vaccinating the public on January 11th and has distributed nearly 15,000 vaccines to date. The funds will be used to help cover the tremendous costs associated with vaccine administration and running the clinic at Yanity Gym.

“RVNAhealth is very fortunate to receive this grant from The Rotary Club of Ridgefield, a portion of which was matched by Rotary District 7980,” shares MJ Heller, Director of Philanthropy at RVNAhealth. “We have incurred a significant amount of unbudgeted expenses throughout this pandemic and the response from The Rotary Club has been truly amazing.  In addition to their financial support, the Rotarians have been very generous with PPE donations from the start and have volunteered their time and expertise, as well.  We really are humbled by their unwavering support.”

As the public vaccination clinics begin to wind down this month, RVNAhealth will now shift its attention to vaccinating the homebound, as well as underserved communities where obstacles, such as time, transportation, information, and access, are preventing people from getting the vaccine.

If you are interested in supporting RVNAhealth’s public health initiatives, please visit rvnahealth.org/support-us.

*Pictured at the grant presentation: Dr. Joseph Cleary (Rotarian), Theresa Santoro and MJ Heller of RVNAhealth, and Rainer Gonet (Rotarian)

Who’s the Baby?

The hallways of the RVNAhealth building in Ridgefield are graced with awards, press stories, posters, and photographs commemorating our 100+ years of service. Among our favorites is the image at left: RVNAhealth nurse, Claire Kirby, RN, now 93 years old, tending to a darling newborn and sharing a tip or two with the baby’s mom.  After passing this poster for the 1000th time, someone had the presence of mind to ask …. Who’s the baby?

Excellent question.

Claire Kirby, who is no long working for RVNAhealth but remains a close friend, can’t quite remember the name, but does recall that it was a Ridgefield family.  We’re guessing the photo was taken in the 1980’s/early 90s, but our detective skills are rusty.

Thus, we invite you, our friends and readers, to help us figure it out. Share the image, ask your friends, employ your favorite forensics wallpaper experts … surely somebody will know!

Tips, clues, guesses to marketing@RVNAhealth.org.

[Healthy] Happy Days are Here Again!

From April 24 – 30, RVNAhealth held Healthy Happy Days, our first-ever peer fundraising initiative. We are happy to report that we exceeded our goal by more than $10,000! In total, $57,150 was raised from 192 supporters to help defray the costs of bringing the COVID-19 vaccine to our homebound neighbors, as well as to underserved communities where obstacles, such as time, transportation, information, and access, are preventing people from getting the vaccine they need—and want.

The campaign was a huge success, and we truly cannot thank our 29 peer fundraisers and donors enough for their support of RVNAhealth and our mission in public health.

Top Fundraisers (Dollars Raised)

Josh Weinshank
Lori Berisford & Elaine Cox
Tom Reynolds

Top Networkers (Donors Engaged)

Kathy Graham & Tom Reynolds
Dean Miller
Heidi Capodanno

Most Competitive (for the love of the game, and RVNAhealth!)

Kerry Anne Ducey
Marcie Coffin