Journey Essentials: Ready, Set, Road Trip!

Road trips and safe driving tips

RVNAhealth is pleased to offer the AARP Safe Driver Course at its Ridgefield offices on Monday, May 6th. Registration details can be found at the end of this article on safe senior road tripping.

The Lure of the Wide Open Road

According to a recent report from AARP, three out of five Americans aged 50 and older will plan a trip this year, with road trips emerging as the preferred mode of travel. Road trips offer distinct advantages, including the opportunity to explore local attractions en route, savor regional cuisine and culture, and be in control of your own agenda. But, like all travel trips, proper planning and preparation is essential to being able to enjoy those moments on the road!

Planning Ahead for Road Trips

For older adults planning a road trip, here are some essential packing items and planning considerations:

  • Pack all prescription and over-the-counter medications. Consider if any refrigeration or cooling mechanisms will be required and plan in advance.
  • Pack supportive footwear and clothing. Consider comfortable shoes with good support and tread, compression socks, and clothing that can be layered for all temperatures.
  • Pack any comfort aid items. Travel pillows, blankets, and seat cushions can help reduce fatigue and support relaxation during rest stops or overnight stays. A massage ball or exercise band are great small tools to pack and can help loosen sore or stiff muscles on the road.
  • Know your way. Carry a reliable GPS device or use navigation apps on smartphones.
  • Pack car emergency supplies. Have a flashlight, extra batteries, a multipurpose tool, and a roadside emergency kit in your car. Be mindful of maintaining a fully charged mobile phone and a car charger for communication in case of emergencies.
  • Stay in communication. In addition to a smartphone, bring a backup battery and charging cords. And don’t forget to have all important contact numbers (family, physicians, etc.) easily available.
  • Stay active and hydrated. Maintain your health by staying hydrated and engaging in light physical activity during rest stops. Stretching or taking short walks can help alleviate stiffness and improve circulation.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance that provides coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events. This can offer financial protection and assistance in case of unexpected situations.
  • Brush up on your driving know-how and rules of the road…speaking of which, read on for RVNAhealth’s hosting of the AARP Safe Driver course next week!

AARP Safe Driver Course at RVNAhealth

RVNAhealth is proud to host the AARP Safe Driver Course at our 27 Governor Street, Ridgefield office on Monday May 6th from 9:00am – 1:30pm. Take the AARP Smart Driver classroom course and you could save money on your auto insurance. Learn techniques for handling left turns, right-of-way and roundabouts. Understand how to reduce traffic violations, crashes, and risk of injury and discover proven driving methods to help keep you and your loved ones safe on the road! You must register in advance and there is a fee payable to the instructor on the day of the class.

See AARP’s website for more information and tips on driver safety. We wish you safe and healthy travels on the open road!

 

RVNAhealth is a private, 501c(3) non-profit organization which provides a continuum of care to people in 35+ towns across Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties. RVNAhealth depends on financial support from individuals like you who believe that healthy communities improve the quality of life for everyone. Every gift — no matter the size — is critical to upholding our mission and sustaining our important work. If you would like to support RVNAhealth’s mission to deliver unmatched, compassionate healthcare when and where it is needed, please click here.

A 21st Century Pain in the Neck

Text Neck and therapy at RVNAhealth

Technology is a regular part of modern daily life and has, for many, become a literal pain in the neck. The hours spent hunched over technology—cell phones, tablets, and computers—can result in a condition coined Text Neck Syndrome, a stress injury to the neck, shoulders, and cervical spine. Text neck, also known as tech neck or forward head posture, is a modern condition characterized by neck pain and stiffness resulting from excessive or prolonged use of electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. When using these devices, especially for extended periods, people often crane their neck forward and downward, which can strain the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck and upper back.

Physical therapists are inundated with complaints of the syndrome. RVNAhealth Director of Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, Kate Campbell, DPT, provided insight into the phenomenon increasingly seen in patients at the Rehabilitation & Wellness Center.

What are the symptoms of Text Neck Syndrome?

  • Nagging or sharp pain in the upper back or neck that is often triggered when bending the neck in a downward forward motion
  • Excessive discomfort and stiffness in the shoulders, neck, and upper back, particularly at the end of the day
  • Headaches, often frequent, exacerbated by screen time
  • Decreased or painful head mobility

How are symptoms assessed?

A physical examination and medical history are part of evaluating patients with the symptoms of Text Neck Syndrome. Review of discomfort, mobility limitations, and lifestyle are all relevant factors in comprehensive assessment and if more serious injury or diagnoses are suspected, a referral for imaging could be recommended. A treatment plan developed by a physical therapist is often the appropriate course of action for many patients.

How is Text Neck Syndrome treated?

All RVNAhealth patients receive personal assessments and treatment programs to address individual presentation of symptoms. There are strengthening exercises and posture adjustments that can mitigate the discomfort and physical misalignments that accompany the syndrome.

A customized plan is developed to address the needs of each patient based on individual lifestyle and ability which can include time working with a physical therapist at the Rehabilitation & Wellness Center and at-home exercises.

Physical therapy can be accessed through a doctor referral or, for Connecticut residents, through the statewide Direct Access program which enables CT residents to see a physical therapist without doctor referral for up to six visits.

Are there ways to prevent neck strain?

Yes! Starting with proper posture is key. And make sure to align technology with eye level to help alleviate neck pressure. Since the average human head weighs around eleven pounds, a downward and forward-positioned head puts significant strain on the neck, spine, and supporting muscles.

Regular stretching can also help to release muscle strain and strengthen stabilizing muscle groups. We recommend chin tucks and gentle arching/backbends while seated to help. You can view some of these recommended stretches in video included here.

Finally, take frequent breaks from technology whenever possible. Take deep breaths while going on a short walk and remember to stand straight with the shoulders back. Practicing good posture is a worthwhile habit!

Since society’s reliance on technology is not likely to dissipate, mindfulness of body position during use can minimize the negative physical consequences of excessive screen time. If you feel you may suffer from Text Neck Syndrome, or any similar ailment causing discomfort, contact the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center team at 203.438.7862. For more information about our RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center visit www.rvnahealth.org/rehab.

 

RVNAhealth is a private, 501c(3) non-profit organization which provides a continuum of care to people in 35+ towns across Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties. RVNAhealth depends on financial support from individuals like you who believe that healthy communities improve the quality of life for everyone. Every gift — no matter the size — is critical to upholding our mission and sustaining our important work. If you would like to support RVNAhealth’s mission to deliver unmatched, compassionate healthcare when and where it is needed, please click here.

Join Us for Breakfast!

We hope to see you at our annual Spring Breakfast on Friday, April 26th, 7:30-9:00am at The Amber Room Colonnade in Danbury, CT. The morning will be complete with exciting auction items, great raffle prizes, delicious breakfast, and an inspiring impact speaker.

The Board of Directors, Spring Breakfast 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.

Each year, the Spring Breakfast brings together 400 local business leaders, medical professionals, community groups, and RVNAhealth supporters to welcome spring and raise funds critical to patient care and program support. Funds raised allow RVNAhealth to care for patients and clients regardless of age, diagnosis, or financial circumstances and have a lasting impact on the lives of those served as well as their families. It is truly an inspiring morning and a great way to start the day!

Anne Mead, Ed. D., Director of Family, School and Community Partnerships for the Danbury Public Schools, will share insight into the partnership between RVNAhealth and the Danbury Schools, the profound impact of RVNAhealth’s Well-Child Program in Danbury, and the long-term, often life-changing, benefits the program provides to the families it serves and the community as a whole.

Laura Shulman Cordeira, MPH, Director of Community Health and Wellness at RVNAhealth, sums this up well in noting that “Our two teams have worked together to remove as many barriers as possible for students to meet the medical requirements needed to attend school. It is an innovative solution in a school district where the growth of the student population has outpaced the growth of pediatric practitioners.” Dr. Mead agrees, noting, “The partnership between Danbury Public Schools and RVNAhealth is invaluable to ensure health and access to education for our most vulnerable students and their families.”

This year’s Live Auction is filled with exciting opportunities including an African Safari for 2, a family summer vacation to Cape Cod, NY Yankees and NY Mets tickets, a NYC night out for dinner & a Broadway show, a four courses golf package … and more! Special thanks to our Sponsors, whose generosity provides invaluable support to our mission to provide unmatched, compassionate healthcare when and where it is needed.

You are invited to become a sponsor or host a table at this year’s event, which will include a delicious breakfast, live auction with travel and entertainment packages, and a raffle that includes dozens of prizes. You may purchase sponsorships or tables online at RVNAhealth.org or contact Jennifer Christensen at 203.438.5555, x1052 or jchristensen@rvnahealth.org.

Volunteering: It’s Good for You!

Volunteering at RVNAhealth

“Volunteering isn’t just good for the soul; it’s medicine for the heart, mind, and body.” – Unknown 

With the arrival of spring comes the appreciation of new growth. While you take a moment to observe the external change around you, maybe you will be inspired to consider new personal growths and goals. At RVNAhealth, we hope that you are reminded to invest in yourself! Schedule and check off all those annual wellness appointments, take time for exercise, eat well, and do things to nourish your social and emotional well-being.

On the topic of social and emotional well-being, April happens to be National Volunteer Month in the United States.  During this time, organizations, communities, and individuals often come together to celebrate the impact of volunteers and encourage others to get involved in service activities. RVNAhealth, too, looks forward to celebrating its own special community of volunteers!

More Than Just a Feel Good Factor

Volunteering has been shown to provide a multitude of social and emotional benefits.  It can boost happiness, gratitude, and a sense of purpose. And if you needed another reason to raise your hand and get started, volunteering has also been connected to longevity! Researchers studying the “Blue Zones” (geographic regions around the world boasting populations living statistically longer lives) have found that volunteerism is often integrated into daily life. It is a natural part of how people interact with each other and contribute to the well-being of their community. Overall, the principles of volunteerism in Blue Zones revolve around fostering social connections, promoting community well-being, and embracing a sense of purpose and collective responsibility. These values contribute to the overall health, happiness, and longevity observed in these regions.

Volunteering at RVNAhealth

Watch one of our favorite volunteers, Sophia, star in ‘A Day in the Life of a Hospice Volunteer”

RVNAhealth welcomes all inquiries for volunteer opportunities. The RVNAhealth volunteer program offers safe and diverse opportunities for donating time in a way that is purposeful and meaningful for everyday heroes of all ages. Share the gift of your time across our robust organization in an administrative role, or join our Hospice volunteer corps, dedicated to supporting patients and families at end of life. A little known fact specific to our Hospice volunteers program — RVNAhealth, and all Medicare-certified hospice programs, are required by law to have 5% of service hours performed by volunteers.  Why?  Because hospice care in the U.S. was founded by volunteers, and the commitment to the power, beauty, and altruism of volunteering remains!

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering at RVNAhealth, please visit us here and fill out our Volunteer Inquiry Form.

 

RVNAhealth is a private, 501c(3) non-profit organization which provides a continuum of care to people in 35+ towns across Fairfield, Litchfield, and New Haven Counties. RVNAhealth depends on financial support from individuals like you who believe that healthy communities improve the quality of life for everyone. Every gift — no matter the size — is critical to upholding our mission and sustaining our important work. If you would like to support RVNAhealth’s mission to deliver unmatched, compassionate healthcare when and where it is needed, please click here.

 

Going Somewhere? RVNAhealth Travel Health Will Have You Ready!

Travel Vaccines at RVNAhealth

Honeymoon?
Babymoon?
Student term abroad?
Retirement travel?
Volunteer mission trip?
International business?
Anniversary celebration?
Bucket list travel?

Whatever drives your need to explore the world, travel can make you feel wonderfully alive! But…it can also expose you to serious health and safety threats!

According to the CDC, “As many as 43%–79% of travelers to low- and middle-income countries become ill with a travel-associated health problem. Although most of these illnesses are mild, some travelers become sick enough to seek care from a health care provider.”

Before you go, get in the know by visiting the RVNAhealth travel health clinic. Here, you will learn about the most up-to-date information about your destination and receive recommendations and vaccinations to keep you safe and healthy.

Our trained nurses provide:

  • Itinerary-specific health advice;
  • Discussion of and administration of required and recommended immunizations;
  • Preventative medication for Malaria, Altitude Sickness, Traveler’s Diarrhea
  • Education on safe food/water practices;
  • Insect precautions;
  • Environmental considerations.

Travel health and vaccine consultations are available in person OR virtually by phone/Zoom.

Vaccine administration requires a visit to our clinic. For virtual consultations, our nurse will schedule a consultation with you over the phone to review your trip. If it is determined that vaccines are needed, then a follow-up office appointment will be scheduled to administer vaccines. Consultation and Convenience Fees apply – Effective 1/10/24.

To schedule an appointment, call RVNAhealth at 203.438.5555 or email BeWell@rvnahealth.org.  In person appointments are held at our offices at 27 Governor Street in Ridgefield. Appointments should be scheduled 4 to 6 weeks prior to travel, especially if preventative vaccines or medications are required/recommended, but we will do our best to help you with last-minute appointments.

RVNAhealth Travel Health Nurses can administer the following commonly needed travel vaccinations/medications*:

  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Yellow Fever {we are a U.S. Government Certified Yellow Fever Center}
  • Typhoid
  • Rabies
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Polio
  • Meningitis
  • Measles {MMR}
  • Preventative medication for: Malaria, Altitude Sickness, Traveler’s Diarrhea

We can also provide advice on ways to avoid the mosquitos that carry diseases such as:

  • Zika virus
  • Yellow fever
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Chikungunya

To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 203.438.5555 or email BeWELL@rvnahealth.org.

*RVNAhealth is not able to bill to insurance for the consultation or vaccines. Payment is accepted via check or credit card. You will be given an itemized receipt with insurance diagnosis codes, which you can use to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement, if you choose to do so.

NEW! RVNAhealth Dementia Education & Resources Program

RVNAhealth is excited to announce the introduction of its new Dementia Education & Resources Program, launching officially in March! The new program is aimed at those diagnosed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, and for family members or caregivers at any stage of caring for a loved one. With RVNAhealth’s extensive experience providing care and healthcare services for those with dementia, the new Dementia Education & Resources Program will introduce a robust calendar of educational, therapeutic and support components to our communities – all free of charge.

The Dementia Program “Why”

Many find the staggering statistics around dementia surprising. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors, ages 65+, dies with a form of dementia. And even more surprising, many facing the diagnosis of dementia disease find there are very few resources to turn to for education, care, and support.  Gigi Weiss, MSPT, RVNAhealth Senior Director of Rehabilitative Therapies and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) has witnessed the stories of dementia patients and their families firsthand. “Newly diagnosed dementia patients and their families often discover a harsh and frustrating reality of scattered resources. Many are left to face the battle on their own – one that can be frustrating, scary, and life-changing for both the individual and their loved ones and caregivers,” says Weiss. “This new program from RVNAhealth is intended to help fill that resources gap. We aim to provide regular education and therapeutic programs, and support groups to serve early to mid-stage dementia patients and loved ones and caregivers at all stages of the journey.”

RVNAhealth Dementia & Resources Program Formal Kickoff – March 7th

The RVNAhealth Dementia Education & Resources Program kicks off formally at our Ridgefield office event on March 7th from 1:00-2:30pm (in-person or via Zoom) with a presentation by guest physician, Dr. Alison McElhone, Gerontologist from Stamford Health, who will speak about the importance of early evaluation in cognitive decline and dementia. Also, during this event, Weiss and other RVNAhealth dementia experts will present introductory education and and an overview of our new resources program, including the calendar lineup of internal and external dementia experts scheduled to present on topics ranging from nutritional impacts, to understanding the linkage with hearing loss, recommended home modifications, and more (see details below). To register to attend this event in-person or virtually, please view our event and follow the registration link.

Upcoming lineup of events following our kickoff:

  • March 26th: Understanding the Cognitive Benefits of Exercise in Dementia Care
  • April 4th: The Impact of Nutrition on Dementia Care
  • April 9th: The Unheard Connection: Exploring the Link between Hearing Loss and Dementia
  • May 8th: Helping You Meet the Dementia Challenge
  • May 16th: Home Modifications for Dementia-Friendly Living
  • June 4th: Legal and Long-Term Financial Planning in Dementia Care
  • June 18th: Hospice Care and Comfort – End Stage Dementia: A Compassionate Approach
  • Plus ongoing support groups

Need Dementia Information or Support Sooner?

Leading up to our March 7th formal kickoff, we are excited to also offer an educational event, “Helping You Meet The Dementia Challenge,” at the Ridgefield Library on February 15th from 1:30-2:30pm.  Weiss and RVNAhealth’s Danielle Taibi, Home Health Aide Supervisor – both Certified Dementia Practitioners, will explain how to recognize the symptoms and stages of the condition, and discuss coping techniques that can be implemented during the early stages. The team will also discuss how to recognize when professional assistance and intervention may be necessary, along with strategies to make challenges and transitions more manageable. Please register HERE to attend this Feb 15th event.

RVNAhealth also continues its existing dedication to dementia support through its monthly Alzheimer’s Association-backed support groups.  RVNAhealth’s own Melissa Wutke, HHA Supervisor, Certified Dementia Practitioner, facilitates an Alzheimer’s Association monthly caregiver support group at RVNAhealth in Ridgefield.

Stay In Touch With Us

To stay in touch with us about details or to register for any of these or RVNAhealth’s other educational and program offerings, please check out our calendar of events regularly.  And if you would like to subscribe to our RVNAhealth Dementia-specific communications, please sign up HERE.

Fairfield County Bank ’23 Nursing Scholarships Announced

2023 Fairfield County Bank Nursing Scholarship Winners at RVNAhealth

Pictured left to right: Lauren Messina, Hospice RN; Keri Linardi, RVNAhealth Chief Clinical Officer; Dan Berta, President of Fairfield County Bank; Theresa Santoro, RVNAhealth President & CEO; Jennifer Christensen, RVNAhealth Donor Engagement Officer; Missing: Elaine Leitao, QAPI RN

The gift of education is an investment in an individual, unlocking their potential, providing knowledge, and wielding the power to shape the trajectory of their life. Each year since 2019, a fortunate few RVNAhealth staff members have been recipients of this invaluable gift, made possible by scholarships generously provided by Fairfield County Bank—a steadfast supporter and believer in the mission of RVNAhealth.

The 2023 recipients of the Fairfield County Bank Nursing Scholarships include:

Elaine Leitao, QAPI RN, HCS-D, started with RVNAhealth in 2018 as a field nurse, left the agency for a brief time, and returned in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. She is working on her MSN at Chamberlain University. “The significance of this scholarship in shaping my journey and guiding me to my present position cannot be overstated. The support from Fairfield County Bank and RVNAhealth has empowered me to strive for excellence in both personal and professional aspects. I look forward to my continued future career growth with RVNAhealth!”

Lauren Messina, RVNAhealth Hospice RN with client
Lauren Messina, Hospice RN, with client

Lauren Messina, Hospice RN, recently completed her APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) with the help of the scholarship. Joining RVNAhealth during the pandemic, she echoed similar appreciation. “I feel extremely fortunate to have been a beneficiary of the scholarship granted by Fairfield County Bank. My interest in advancing my education and returning for my APRN occurred during COVID, as I was encouraged and inspired by those around me.  The scholarship allowed me financial assistance while also providing me with a sense of support from the RVNAhealth community. I am looking forward to utilizing this advanced certification to improve the quality of the lives of those individuals we are dedicated to caring for.”

Keri Linardi, Chief Clinical Officer, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPCA is attending Central Connecticut State University to complete her Master of Science in Nursing. As both a recipient of this scholarship and clinical leader at RVNAhealth, Keri added, “These annual awards have impacted so many in the RVNAhealth organization. I extend my heartfelt thanks to Fairfield County Bank for investing in the education of our employees and not only broadening the horizons of our staff but also contributing to the strength of our team as a whole.”

A True Partner, Mentor, and Friend

Fairfield County Bank sponsorship of RVNAhealth Spring Breakfast
Fairfield County Bank table at RVNAhealth Spring Breakfast 2023
Thank you to Fairfield County Bank for donation of their billboard space to RVNAhealth
RVNAhealth billboard on I-95 in Norwalk, thanks to Fairfield County Bank!

Fairfield County Bank has been a steadfast partner of RVNAhealth for nearly three decades. Through lead sponsorships at fundraising events, serving on our Board of Directors, the Nursing Scholarship Program, donating space on their I-95 billboard in Norwalk, and through their dedicated employees who have supported us with invaluable guidance, advice, and unwavering support through numerous volunteer hours — Fairfield County Bank’s influence on RVNAhealth is beyond measure. As summarized by Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, CHCA, President & CEO of RVNAhealth, “They stand as not just a sponsor, but a true partner, mentor, and friend. We are profoundly appreciative.”

 

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 and how you can donate to support those who might not otherwise have access to care

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.