We Can’t Do What We Do Without YOU!

RVNAhealth donor giving

For 109 years, RVNAhealth has been a community-based non-profit organization that provides care for people of all ages, from birth through end of life. Today, we serve more than 5,000 people annually across 35+ Connecticut towns, with home healthcare, rehabilitation therapies, palliative and hospice care. Our donor-funded community programs for Chronic Care patients, underinsured children, and first-time, low-income mothers serve those who might not have access to care without our support. Please make a gift to RVNAhealth today and know that every gift – no matter the size – is critical to upholding our mission and sustaining our important work.

Click here to learn more about our commitment to your community.

To donate and support those who might not otherwise have access to care, please click here.

Care Made Possible By You


December 2023


At RVNAhealth, there is the care we deliver. And there are the people we deliver it to. People like Ray. 81 years old. A Bronze Star Vietnam veteran. Key player in The Orchids band. A mainstay in our Chronic Care program. A man of many lives.


Meet Ray

Ray is the son of immigrant parents who came to America as teenagers from Campobasso, Italy and worked hard to achieve the American Dream. Ray embraced the life he was given, serving his country in Vietnam and returning to pursue his passion for music with his band, The Orchids.

Ray’s music career was taking off when he was hit by a drunk driver at age 29. He suffered a broken femur, ruptured his spleen, and lost his left eye. Not insignificant injuries. But Ray was young and driven and he didn’t miss a beat. He donned an eye patch, rejoined his band, and returned to tour, across the country and abroad.

At 55, after decades on the road, Ray had a stroke. One of his heart valves was replaced, and a pacemaker put in. A few years later, Ray lost his wife and continued to struggle with ongoing health concerns.

As his health costs grew, Ray had no choice but to sell his home in New Milford and move into subsidized housing to make ends meet. Like many with limited health insurance, Ray was a “frequent flyer” at the local emergency room. Fortunately, the Town of New Milford saw the pattern and recognized that with the right care at home, Ray could maintain his health and avoid distressing and unnecessary hospitalizations.


Enter the RVNAhealth Chronic Care Program — and the ‘Cool Cats’

The RVNAhealth Chronic Care Program serves individuals who benefit from an added layer of nursing oversight to maintain stability – keeping an eye on them, their health, and escalating health concerns.

Ray now has a weekly visit from one of two RVNAhealth nurses – Danielle and Donna. Ever the musician, Ray calls them his “cool cats.” And they are.

Every week, they monitor Ray’s vitals, give him a thorough body check, manage his pain medications, and keep an eye on his state of health and well-being. Under their vigilant watch, Ray received same day medical care for pneumonia, when they found him confused and struggling to breathe on a routine nursing visit. Their immediacy prevented hospitalization and further complications. On another occasion, they escalated a severe case of Shingles which was threatening Ray’s working eye. Had Ray not received prompt treatment, he could have gone completely blind.

On any given day, there are 120 patients like Ray in RVNAhealth’s Chronic Care Program — individuals in need of healthcare they couldn’t otherwise afford. For these individuals, the personal relationship and professional care RVNAhealth brings is the difference between staying in the comfort of their own homes or moving into an institutional setting.


Where would people like Ray be without us? Where would we be without you?!

For 109 years, RVNAhealth has been a community-based non-proit organization that provides care for people of all ages, from birth through end of life. Today, we serve more than 5,000 people annually across 35+ Connecticut towns, with home healthcare, rehabilitation therapies, palliative and hospice care. Our donor-funded community programs for Chronic Care patients, underinsured children, and first-time, low-income mothers serve those who might not have access to care without our support.

These individuals depend on RVNAhealth to keep them safe and healthy during some of life’s most challenging times. RVNAhealth depends on financial support from individuals like you who believe that healthy communities improve the quality of life for everyone.

Please make a gift to RVNAhealth today and know that every gift — no matter the size — is critical to upholding our mission and sustaining our important work.

With sincere gratitude,

Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA

President & CEO


P.S. Click here to make your tax-deductible gift to support RVNAhealth.

And remember, a matching gift from your employer will make your gift go twice as far. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Celebrating Our Nurse-Family Partnership National Award Winner

NFP's Laura Shulman Cordeira

Congratulations to RVNAhealth’s Laura Shulman Cordeira, MPH, on her receipt of the 2023 Tenacious Caregiver Award presented by the National Service Office at their National Symposium in Seattle on September 12th.  Shulman Cordeira, RVNAhealth’s Community Health & Wellness Director, was recognized for her role as a program Administrator for her leadership in growing Nurse-Family Partnership at RVNAhealth.

About RVNAhealth’s Nurse Family Partnership

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a national program offered through the National Service Office (NSO) that serves first-time pregnant people affected by economic inequality and their children. Each program participant is paired with a nurse home visitor from pregnancy until the child turns 2.

Nurse-Family Partnership at RVNAhealth launched in 2020 and is only the second NFP program in the state of Connecticut.  Funded by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, the program has served 98 moms and 65 babies and celebrated 8 graduates from the 2.5-year-long program. This voluntary free program is for people pregnant with their first child, who meet income guidelines, and reside in Western Connecticut.

When combined with traditional medical care, national program statistics show that families participating experience a 48% reduction in child abuse and neglect, a 56% decrease in ER visits for accidents and poisonings, an 18% decrease in pre-term births, and an increase in breastfeeding initiation. There are also several long-term benefits to participants, including 67% reduction in behavioral/intellectual challenges at age 6, 61% fewer arrests of the mother, and 59% reduction in child arrests at age 15.

2023 Tenacious Caregiver Award for NFP Administrator

RVNAhealth's Laura Cordeira Wins National NFP Award
Shulman Cordeira, 4th from left, 2023 Tenacious Caregiver – NFP Administrator. National Symposium, Seattle, Washington

The Tenacious Caregiver Award for NFP Administrator is given to an exceptional Network Partner leader who advocates for Nurse-Family Partnership in their community and supports high performance from their team.

Shulman Cordeira has led the RVNAhealth NFP program since right after it launched in 2020. Despite the challenges that came with starting up during the pandemic, the program has grown impressively in a short time thanks to her dedication and leadership. She has been a steadfast advocate for NFP– using her voice to testify for increased funding and working to build a strong community of support behind NFP in her community and across Connecticut.

“Your selection is a testament to your passion for NFP’s mission and values and your commitment to your team. We have been so impressed by your dedication to the program – growing your implementation in the face of the pandemic; building strong relationships across your community and state in support of the program; and tirelessly advocating for sustainable funding streams,” said Charlotte Min-Harris, President & CEO of the National Service Office for Nurse-Family Partnership.

Congratulations to the Entire RVNAhealth NFP Team!

Congratulations again to Laura, as well as the entire NFP team. The successful growth of the NFP program is a testament to their collective hard work. One of our NFP moms best summed up the impact their work, “[They have provided] amazing support to help guide me through this journey to motherhood. The peace of mind this program provides is outstanding.”

To learn more about our program, please visit the RVNAhealth Nurse-Family Partnership website.

RVNAhealth Earns Top Workplace Award for 11th Time

RVNAhealth wins Hearst Media CT Top Workplace Award 2023

RVNAhealth has once again achieved the prestigious Top Workplaces award by Hearst Connecticut Media for 2023, marking the 11th time since 2011 that they have received this recognition. This accolade is bestowed upon local businesses that excel in fostering an outstanding workplace culture, as determined through confidential employee surveys. The survey participants at RVNAhealth encompass a diverse range of roles, including clinical staff, rehabilitation therapists, and certified nursing assistants, as well as non-medical caregivers and administrative personnel. RVNAhealth falls into the mid-sized company category, which includes enterprises with employee counts ranging from 100 to 999.

Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA, President and CEO of RVNAhealth, reflects on the significance of this achievement, stating, “I am immensely proud to witness the unwavering strength and dedication exhibited by our employees. This award serves as a validation of RVNAhealth’s resolute mission and underscores our employees’ commitment to the patients and communities we serve. It’s truly an honor to work alongside this exceptionally talented team.”

The Top Workplaces distinction was conferred upon 61 local Connecticut companies for 2023. To be eligible for consideration, a company must be situated in Fairfield, Litchfield, or New Haven County, and maintain a workforce of at least 35 employees. Employees complete a comprehensive survey about their organization, with the results analyzed to determine the recipients of the awards.

In addition to the rewarding and mission-driven work environment, RVNAhealth offers its employees an array of benefits, including medical and dental insurance, company-sponsored life insurance, a robust retirement plan with generous matching contributions, flexible work arrangements, ongoing training, opportunities for professional development, and well-defined career paths. For those interested in becoming part of the RVNAhealth family, more information can be found at rvnahealth.org/careers/.

Celebrate and Support RVNAhealth at Autumn Dinner 2023

RVNAhealth Autumn Dinner 2023

RVNAhealth will host its annual Autumn Dinner on Saturday evening, September 30 at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield, CT. The Board of Directors, Autumn Dinner Committee, and friends of the organization look forward to celebrating the meaningful work of RVNAhealth and the continuum of care the agency provides throughout 35+ Connecticut communities.

Guests will enjoy evening cocktails and live music by Nick DePuy on the patio, bourbon tasting sponsored by Ancona’s Wines & Liquors, and dinner. A live auction hosted by entertainer, Tom Pesce, will include spectacular prizes, including tickets to a NY Giants game in a fully catered suite, a Loon Mountain ski vacation package, dinner for 8 catered by renowned local chefs Sarah and Bernard Bouissou and more!

Our ever-popular “Date Night for a Year” raffle is back! The always exciting date nights include a spa experience for two at Adam Broderick Salon & Spa, ACT of Connecticut and Danbury Hat Tricks tickets, and gift certificates to fabulous area shops, inns, and restaurants from Ridgefield to Litchfield, to name just a few!

The evening is hosted in support of RVNAhealth’s home health and hospice care, and the agency’s mission-driven public health services and wellness programs. This year’s impact speaker will be Jeanette Rizzo, who will share a personal story about how RVNAhealth was “without a doubt, the best decision” she made when choosing health and home care for her mother. Her story includes the very special bond that was created between her family and the RVNAhealth caregiver who was honored to attend Jeanette’s daughter’s wedding even though her mother passed prior to the event. This relationship reflects the experience RVNAhealth strives to create for every patient and family member in their care.

We would like to provide a tremendous thank you our sponsors, including:

  • Presenting Sponsor: Bill Lichtenberger
  • Diamond Sponsors: The Bossidy Foundation, Fairfield County Bank, Joseph and Shelley O’Connor, Eileen and Jay Walker
  • Platinum Sponsors: Chipman Mazzucco Emerson LLC, Robert H. Martinsen, Mutual of America
  • Gold Sponsors: BMW of Ridgefield, Cramer & Anderson, LLP, The Donnelly Family, Liz and Steven Goldstone, Starr and Harvey Herscovitch, Christopher and Mary Joyce, Meadow Ridge, Reynolds & Rowella, LLP, Savings Bank of Danbury, SimiTree Healthcare Consulting, Wilton Meadows and The Greens at Cannondale
  • Silver Sponsors: Adam Broderick Salon & Spa, John and Lori Berisford, Jill Bornstein/Upnext Leadership Coaching, Gaetano Castellano, Kevin and Elaine Cox, Anita and Nick Donofrio, Elizabeth Murray Ellis, Hamlet Hub, Adam and Glori Norwitt, Dan and Annette O’Brien, On the Mend Medical Supplies & Equipment, Donna and Joe Pastore/Pastore LLC, John and Joanne Patrick, Thomas and Michele Quindlen, Ridgebury Riders, Rodier Flowers, Union Savings Bank, Peter and Lisa Vanderminden, Barbara and William Wyman, Young’s of Ridgefield.

If you are interested in supporting the RVNAhealth Autumn Dinner, you may purchase sponsorships, program book advertising, or tickets at RVNAhealth.org.  If you would like more information, please contact Debbie Campbell at 203.438.5555, x1249 or dcampbell@rvnahealth.org.

You Are Invited to Help Make a Difference!

The RVNAhealth Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and the Autumn Dinner Committee invite you to join us at the annual RVNAhealth Autumn Dinner on September 30th. The event, filled with fun and celebration of the meaningful impact RVNAhealth has on the communities it serves, will be held at Silver Spring Country Club in Ridgefield, CT.

You can make a difference by sharing in this opportunity to raise critical funds to support our home health and hospice care and sustain the mission-driven public health services and wellness programs we provide across 35+ Connecticut communities.

The evening will include cocktails on the patio with live music by Nick DePuy, bourbon tasting sponsored by Ancona’s Wines & Liquors, an impact speaker, gourmet dinner, our back-by-popular-demand “Date Night for a Year” raffle, fabulous live auction items, and more. Please see our 2022 Autumn Dinner recap and photo gallery here for a taste of the great evening that awaits you!

Tickets, Sponsorships, and Ads are available.  Click here to learn more about the many ways you can have an impact in supporting our mission and your community.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jennifer Christensen, Donor Engagement Officer, at 203.438.5555 x1052 or via email at jchristensen@RVNAhealth.org.

We look forward to seeing you on September 30!

Living a Healthy Brain Lifestyle

Healthy brain lifestyle

June is recognized as Brain Health Awareness Month. It is a time to bring attention to the importance of maintaining good brain health and promoting awareness of brain-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and traumatic brain injury. It is also a time to encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can benefit their brain health, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, staying mentally active, and getting enough restful sleep.

We caught up with RVNAhealth’s Susan DiGregorio, M.A CCC-SLP, and popular presenter for the RVNAhealth Wellness Academy’s “How to Live a Healthy Brain Lifestyle” talk, to get some practical tips on what we can all do – at any stage in our lives – to support our brains. Susan uses an easy acronym, “DANCERS,” to get you on track. DANCERS stands for Disease management – Activity – Nutrition – Cognitive stimulation – Engagement with others – Relaxation – and Sleep hygiene.  Each of the DANCERS components is an important factor to maintaining brain health.

Susan elaborated for us on recommendations around “Cognitive stimulation” – small, simple (and often fun!) things we can do every day to boost our brain health.  We often hear about brain games such as Sudoku, Wordle, and crossword puzzles. “The important thing is to find games and activities that are challenging and fun to you! Not everyone enjoys crossword puzzles, and that’s okay. The important thing is to find games or activities that encourage and engage several skills. When we can activate working memory, reasoning, and problem solving – we have a clear winner for brain health.

Some examples of good brain-health stimulators are Scrabble, word searches, word scrambles, chess, sudoku, concentration, and crosswords. And don’t forget (no pun intended!) that physical activity can be turned into a brain stimulator as well!  Any activity where you are engaging multiple systems at once — such as walking while having a conversation with a friend, cleaning your house while you are mentally writing your grocery list, or going for a drive but first planning and thinking through your route before turning on a GPS – all help to promote cognitive stimulation.

If you are a family member or loved one looking to engage in simpler games with someone who has a more severe cognitive impairment, consider things like adult coloring books, memory boxes, balloon toss, flower arranging, gardening, and feeding birds.  These activities can stimulate orientation to the seasons, attention, participation in routine, listening and conversation.

The RVNAhealth Wellness Academy offers ongoing educational programming that are open to the public, including “How to Live A Healthy Brain Lifestyle.” Please visit our calendar of events to view current upcoming programming.

RVNAhealth Hospice and Palliative Teams Win 2023 Florence Wald Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care

2023 Florence Wald Award accepted by RVNAhealth Hospice and Palliative Care team

RVNAhealth’s Hospice and Palliative care teams won the 2023 Florence Wald Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care.

Florence Wald Connecticut History

The Florence Wald Award for Excellence in End-of-Life Care was established to honor Florence Wald. Wald was a pioneer in improving the care of dying patients across the world. Her focus on an interdisciplinary approach to end-of-life care led her to open the first hospice in the United States (here in Connecticut) in 1971. A visionary leader with unwavering commitment to social justice and reverence for life, Wald valued patient, family, and team participation. She truly listened to their input which ultimately launched the hospice reform movement in this country. Thirty-seven years later at the time of her death in 2008, over 4,700 hospices had been instituted across the country.  And today, in 2023, there are over 8,000 hospice and palliative care institutions!

RVNAhealth Acceptance of Award

2023 Florence Wald Award given to RVNAhealth Hospice and Palliative Care Teams
2023 Florence Wald End-of-Life Care Award

The award was presented on May 11th at the annual Statewide Hospice & Palliative Care Summit, hosted by the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home. Theresa Santoro, President & CEO of RVNAhealth, and team members attended a ceremony to accept the award. “This award is a reflection not only of the incredible work of our Hospice and Palliative teams but of the work from everyone at RVNAhealth. It is performed naturally and with great compassion and has a tremendous impact on our patients,” said Santoro

Keri Linardi, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPCA, RVNAhealth Chief Clinical Officer, elaborated on how the RVNAhealth team exemplifies Wald’s commitment. “The key is meeting patients and families where they are in their illness trajectory. Our approach is quite different because we spend more time listening to what patients want.  We educate them on the best approach to meet those needs, and provide the right care at the right time which includes many ancillary services. We hold ourselves, and each other, to higher standards because every patient and their loved ones deserve the best experience during such a monumental time. This is what makes this team so special.”

For more information on RVNAhealth’s hospice and palliative care services, please call 203.438.5555 or visit our website.


Thank You for a Successful 2023 Spring Breakfast

At the RVNAhealth Spring Breakfast, the early bird was treated to quiche, coffee, convivial conversation, and possibly even a trip to Africa.  

It’s amazing what 400 people can accomplish before 9:00am on a Friday morning. In 90 minutes on April 28th, the annual RVNAhealth Spring Breakfast raised $138,000 to support our programs and mission. And there were a lot of happy prize winners!

With lots of spring in their step, area business professionals, physicians, veterans, RVNAhealth supporters and staff filled the Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury at 7:30am.  Government officials from several communities were also in attendance, including the First Selectmen from Washington Depot (James L. Brinton), Bethel (Dan Carter), Warren (Gregory LaCava), Sherman (Don Lowe), Ridgefield (Rudy Marconi), Roxbury (Patrick Roy) as well as Danbury Mayor Dean Esposito, State Representative Farley Santos, and State Senator Julie Kushner.

A highlight of the morning was hearing firsthand the critical role RVNAhealth plays in the community, offering an enhanced continuum of care and meeting the needs of patients from birth to end-of-life.  Impact speaker, Anita Wolter McElroy, could not have been more powerful, as she shared her heartfelt story as a dedicated and loving daughter, trying to find the best of care for her aging parents. She found it in RVNAhealth, where her family’s medical, physical, and emotional needs are being met under one umbrella – always carefully organized, orchestrated, and well communicated. Referring to RVNAhealth as “the glue,” she shared, “It’s not just the services they offer, but how they provide those services.”

Many, many thanks to all of our event sponsors; our gracious table hosts and guests; the local businesses who donated more than 60 raffle items; our friends at Rodier Flowers; our special speaker, Anita Wolter McElroy; our brilliant auctioneer, Allison Stockel; our extraordinary event chairpersons, Andrea Gartner and Cathy Moore, and our fabulous committee who all brought an early Friday morning to life for RVNAhealth.

If you missed the Spring Breakfast and still want to show your support, please click here to make a donation.

Thank you to Deborah O’Brien for these wonderful photos!



RVNAhealth Introduces New ‘Fitness to DRIVE’ Program

The ability of seniors to safely drive is a concern for many people and their loved ones as they age. It is important to understand that aging can affect a person’s driving ability, but it is not necessarily a reason to stop driving altogether. If you or a loved one are concerned about your ability to drive safely, RVNAhealth is pleased to offer its new Fitness to DRIVE program, the only OT certified driving assessment in Fairfield County, CT! The Fitness to DRIVE program is available for seniors and to help anyone improve their driving skills and maintain their independence on the road and in the community, whether you are recovering from a recent medical illness or condition, or you just want to validate your driving skill set.

There are many factors that can affect the driving abilities of older adults. The most common ones include changes in vision (visual acuity and depth perception), cognitive changes (memory, attention, or reaction time), and medication side effects (drowsiness, dizziness, etc.). Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease have also been linked to higher risk of motor vehicle crashes. Additionally, certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and head or brain traumas can also impact your ability to drive safely.

RVNAhealth’s Fitness to DRIVE program consists of a 90 minute clinical off-road assessment to help you identify your ability to drive safely and ways you can improve your driving skills. During the assessment, a RVNAhealth certified occupational therapist (OT) will perform simple in-office assessments for vision, hearing, sensation, cognition, motor skills, strength and coordination. Upon completion, you and your family will have a clear understanding of your fitness to drive safely and recommendations for improvement. If physical, occupational, or speech therapy are recommended, all are available from RVNAhealth’s Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. The initial Fitness to DRIVE assessment costs $250. If the initial driving evaluation recommends that rehabilitation or other ongoing treatment is needed to improve driving fitness, the assessment cost will be covered under most Medicare or private insurance.

Not all older drivers experience declines in driving ability, and some older adults may be safer drivers than younger adults due to their greater experience and caution on the road. But in general, seniors should monitor their health and be aware of any physical or cognitive changes that may affect their ability to drive safely. To learn more about RVNAhealth’s Fitness to Drive program, call 203.438.7862 or email rehabcenter@rvnahealth.org.