RVNAhealth’s Gigi Weiss Earns Innovation Award

Gigi Weiss (third from left) with members of the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation team.

At RVNAhealth, we all know that Gigi Weiss, MSPT, CDP, CKTP is incredible. That opinion was seconded today when Gigi, RVNAhealth’s director of rehabilitation services, was selected for the Innovation Award by the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home.

The CAHCH Innovation Award is given each year to an association member agency or individual who embraces change and consistently strives to use new methods and technologies to optimize home health, hospice or personal care delivery.

During her decade-long tenure at RVNAhealth, Gigi has had a resounding theme: forward progress, forward motion. Her many accomplishments have included introducing innovative, proven programs and capabilities, such as LSVT Big and Loud® (for patients with Parkinson’s), Otago (a fall prevention program) and Vestibular Therapy (to address inner ear/balance issues).

Gigi has also embraced technology to augment traditional interventions, incorporating digital apps and technologies into treatment plans when appropriate. Examples include Constant Therapy and Apraxia Therapy, for improving skills such as speech, memory and attention. These exciting therapies allow treatment to continue even after their reimbursed care ends.

Growing the Facility, Staff and Partnerships

Building and growing have also been constant themes under Gigi’s leadership. Thanks to her vision, the 2,100 square foot RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center was created at RVNAhealth’s 27 Governor Street headquarters. The team that she leads has also grown, from 6 therapists to 32 (including physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists). She has also forged preferred partnerships with local surgical centers, meaning that more and more patients have access to excellent pre- and post-surgical care.

Throughout her tenure, Gigi has been committed to the patients that RVNAhealth Rehabilitation Services serves and the staff whom she leads.

“Gigi has worked tirelessly to help patients get the rehabilitation care that they need, both in their homes and onsite at the RVNAhealth Rehabilitation & Wellness Center,” says Theresa Santoro, MSN, RN, RVNAhealth President & CEO. “She was instrumental in spearheading efforts to help Medicare patients continue to receive therapy in their homes when logistical issues prevented them from pursuing outpatient care.”

Crystal Madyda, PT, Rehabilitation Team Lead, notes that Gigi’s compassionate, friendly nature and dedication to helping her staff develop has earned their loyalty. “I have been with RVNAhealth for nearly six years, and I feel fortunate to know her and work with her,” she says. “She’s a really strong, really caring, and really inspiring leader.”

Gigi received her prestigious award at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, as part of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home Annual Conference.

Elizabeth DeMassa Earns Marguerite Regan Nursing Award

RVNAhealth regan scholarship, theresa santoro, elizabeth demassa, mj heller

From left, Theresa Santoro, RVNA President & CEO; Scholarship recipient, Elizabeth DeMassa;  MJ Heller, RVNA Director of Philanthropy

There’s a saying, “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.” That’s exactly what Elizabeth DeMassa is looking for as she heads to Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA this fall.  DeMassa is entering the school’s nursing program having been awarded the Marguerite Regan Nursing Award by RVNA last spring.

The award is a longtime, four-year partial scholarship, granted each year to a Ridgefield High School senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. From RVNA’s Board of Directors, a “scholarship task force” reviews anonymous submissions to select a recipient.

DeMassa, a graduate of Ridgefield High School’s class of 2019, selected nursing because she wants to work in a field where she can help others. Indeed, helping others seems to run in the DeMassa family. Her father, Douglas, is a chiropractor (and creator of Neuron-Do, which helps individuals develop motor and cognitive skills through martial arts), and her mother, Heather, is a nurse at Stamford Health.

On the extracurricular front, DeMassa was captain of the Ridgefield High School girls’ cross-country team last school year and a track and field standout. Meaning Moravian will benefit not only by her generous nature, but also her considerable athleticism.