Home Health Care is Crucial to Better Patient Outcomes and Our Healthcare System’s Future

Dr. David Schrier–Hospice Medical Director, Colorado Visiting Nurse Association

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has designated November as Home Care& Hospice Month – a time to honor millions of nurses, home care aides, therapists, and social workers who make a remarkable difference for the patients and families they serve. These heroic caregivers play a central role in our health care system and in homes across the nation.

I am taking this opportunity remind patients, physicians and other medical professionals involved in patient care outcomes that there is tremendous value in providing care in the home. Simply put, these full-spectrum services can improve patient outcomes in the least costly, and most often patient-preferred setting which equals a winning solution for everyone.

And, let’s face it – with the “silver tsunami” heading our way, there simply aren’t enough skilled nursing facilities to accommodate the rapidly growing population of aging patients who need long-term care, palliative care or hospice services. Home is going to be the long-term health care facility of the future.

Care provided by home health agencies includes skilled medical services, including chronic disease management; rehabilitative therapies to improve or stabilize the patient’s functional status; care coordination services and management of care transitions (especially from hospital to home); monitoring and management of behavioral health conditions; care that enables avoidance of unnecessary hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations; and support to patients and their family members to connect to community resources to enable and support independence.

There are, unfortunately, some common barriers to patients getting home care services when needed.
Most chronically-ill or elderly patients (and sometimes their physicians) have no idea that they qualify as being homebound and that insurance, in most cases, offer home health services benefits. To truly care for our patients, we physicians, need to do a much better job at helping our patients get the services they need and pay for.

In my opinion, skilled home care providers should be an extension of your healthcare team to ensure your patients’ safety and comfort and reduce hospitalizations, ultimately driving down healthcare costs for all consumers.

david-schrierDavid M. Schrier, MD is a practicing Hematologist & Oncologist in Englewood, CO. Dr. Schrier graduated from University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1990 and has been in practice for 25 years. He completed a residency at University of Colorado Health. Dr. Schrier also specializes in Internal Medicine. He currently practices at Swedish Medical Hospital’s Cancer Center.

In 2002, Dr. Schrier founded the Ray of Hope Cancer Foundationin memory of his patient, Ray. The foundation has given over $5 million in financial assistance to over 4,000 cancer patients in every corner of Colorado. In 2014 he received the Patients’ Choice Award and Compassionate Doctor Recognition

Hawaii hiking

Stay Motivated to Reach Your Ola Ala Goals!

Are you on pace to reach your goals in a few more weeks?

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Excitement and energy may wane after starting a new program; stay motivated with these tips:

  • Invite team members to write a success story about what they’ve achieved, with advice to inspire other participants.
  • Sign up for the Denver Alzheimer’s Walk on September 17th here. Whether it’s a 5K walk, 10K run, or mini-triathlon, you’ll have a blast training — and crossing the finish line.
  • Put good health on your vacation itinerary. There’s no need to halt your Ola Ala progress when you head out for rest and relaxation. Plan ample opportunities to hike, swim, or snorkel.
  • Celebrate Ola Ala milestones. Brainstorm fun activities that support your active, healthy lifestyle with family, friends, or colleagues — like going to the aquarium, holding a Wii sports tournament, or hosting a Hawaiian lunchtime potluck.

Have another great idea to share on exercising? Share them on the Life Path Posts.

Keep up the great work!

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Ola Ala Employee Online Fitness Program

Get Off to a Great Start with Ola Ala

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With the launching of Ola Ala July 19th, employees all over Colorado Visiting Nurse Association are on their way to better well-being. (If you haven’t registered yet contact Aubri at TharpA@VNAColorado.org.)

Get off to a great start with these tips:

• Hold weekly meetings to recognize accomplishments and discuss your Ola Ala strategies as well as how you can make more progress along the trail.

• Search Recipes for delicious new dishes that will help you eat more fruits and vegetables.

• Go for a walk or bike ride after dinner, enjoy a weekend swim, or invite coworkers to join you for a Saturday hike.

• Learn about new activities to try, like geocaching, kayaking, or hula dancing.

• Start or join a team like our medical records department did, U ‘i pinao, which is Hawaiian for Beautiful Dragonfly. Challenge other participants to see who can stay ahead on the team leader board.

• Rally your coworkers. Invite others to join you for a lunchtime walk or festive Hawaiian shirt contest.

As you embark on the Ola Ala journey, join the conversation — visit Life Path Posts to find healthy lifestyle tips, share wellness successes and challenges, and encourage other participants.

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Colorado VNA’s Role In Colorado’s Growing Senior Population

By Chris Lee, President and CEO

The State of Colorado is grappling with one of the fastest growing older adult populations in the country. The Colorado State Demography Office estimates [that the] “aging of the younger population, especially the ’Baby Boomers’ …, is forecast to increase the population over 65 by 150% between 2010 and 2030.”[1] The numbers will grow from 550,000 people over 65 in 2010 to 1.2 million in 2030.

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Fortunately, Colorado is not leaving future administrations to deal with the challenges. Our State has created the Strategic Action Group on Aging, in addition to other initiatives, to get out in front of aging-related challenges. The Group’s initial ideas on how to address the challenges associated with a rapidly aging population are detailed in the Colorado Aging Framework, which includes 10 distinct goals that the State aims to achieve. Colorado VNA is a leading partner in the efforts to support the needs of older adults. We are evolving existing services and creating deep partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to position ourselves as a critical provider of older adult services.

In particular, three of the Aging Framework goals directly relate to our work:

  • Goal 3: Strengthen support systems and environments that enable individuals to remain in their homes and communities as they age.
  • Goal 5: Support health care programs and services that provide a continuum of care to Colorado citizens as they age to give individuals the right services at the right time.
  • Goal 7: Promote support for caregivers, including family caregivers, to support citizens as they age

Goal 3 articulates several strategies that are focused on strengthened supportive services for older adults so that they can remain in their homes and communities, one of which “make home-maker services available to support individuals’ ability to remain in their homes as long as possible” is superbly aligned with our current work. Just this past week, I traveled with one of our Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Dennis, to visit two of our veterans in their homes. Dennis visits each of these patients several times a week to help with bathing, ensuring that the care plan is implemented, and providing patient and family support. In addition to Dennis, Colorado VNA provides homemakers for these two patients as well. Our homemakers help the patients and families keep their homes clean and safe while also helping with laundry and other household tasks, activities that many of us take for granted even as our ability to conduct them declines with age. Goal 3 seeks to implement similar support functions for those individuals that may not have the resources to pay for private-pay homemakers and/or CNA services. The Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) has long funded Colorado VNA to provide homemaker services to low-income and vulnerable adults, and Goal 3 seeks to provide even more support to DRCOG and ultimately Colorado VNA.

Senior Living Conditions in Colorado

Goal 5 takes Goal 3 further by identifying strategies to more closely connect homemaker services that are supported by DRCOG to primary care providers. Both of the patients I visited are veterans, and the VA has long understood the importance of connecting skilled nursing and therapy care with paraprofessional care while under physician supervision. Goal 5 seeks to create the same connections between the primary care community and the long-term services and supports (LTSS) community. Additionally, Goal 5 provides direction to study the connection between LTSS and decreasing overall healthcare cost. In summary, the State hopes to answer the question: Do the homemaker services Colorado VNA provides decrease overall healthcare spending, and if so, by how much? To this end, I have been appointed to a guiding committee that will help implement the study that will answer this question.

Healthy-Aging-in-Colorado-Infographic-high-resolution4 smallaAnd finally, Goal 7 seeks to provide more financial support and training for family caregivers as well as other non-family caregivers. Those of you who have cared for an elderly parent know just how difficult, time-consuming, and stressful it is to provide the necessary care to keep your loved one in the home, especially if you must also work outside the home to earn a living.  Goal 7 seeks to find ways to provide more support and guidance for family and friend caregiving. Though not an area we are currently operating within, Colorado VNA has the capabilities to train caregivers, as well as the necessary clinical oversight, to be a viable part of the solution for an expanded family- and friend-based caregiving network. In addition to supporting family caregivers, Goal 7 also acknowledges the need for more expansive wellness services for the elderly, services like our Senior Medical Foot Care run by our Wellness Division.

 

As you can see, there is much change in the aging landscape in Colorado. Thanks to the innovative and compassionate care of our staff, Colorado VNA is well positioned to be a part of an expanded Colorado strategy to respond to a dramatically growing elderly population.

 

 

 

[1] Department of Local Affairs, State Demography Office, July 2012, page 1

 

 

 

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Colorado VNA Speaker Series 2016

Colorado VNA’s Speakers Series is designed to offer information and education to help a variety of individuals including seniors, caregivers, and health and wellness professionals navigate the changing landscape of healthcare and foster older adult independence. Admission to all events is free, but space is limited so please RSVP by visiting http://bit.ly/2cCuSmu, emailing hurdl@vnacolorado.org, or calling 303-698-6308.

Donations and sponsorships are gladly welcome. For more information, contact Jodie Deshmukh, Development Manager, at deshmukhj@vnacolorad.org or 303-698-6308.

UPCOMING SESSIONS


aging-in-placeAging and Dying In Place,
A Community Panel Conversation

6:00PM at Anschutz Medical Campus
Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities, Gossard Forum
13080 E 19th Ave, Aurora, CO 80045

Click on the flyer on the right for more information or RSVP at http://bit.ly/2cCuSmu.

PAST SESSIONS

Thursday, July 21st – Autism to Alzheimer’s
6:00 PM at Anschutz Medical Campus

Thursday, May 12thAdvance Directives: Know Your Rights, Share Your Wishes
5:30 PM at Colorado VNA (390 Grant St. Denver)

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10 Memorial Day Facts To Put The Holiday In Perspective

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association remembers and honors the many military personnel who gave their lives in service to our country. We are a leading medical partner of the local VA to promote the health and wellness of all veterans. We are also a proud member of We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs that aims to accompany and guide veterans through their life stories toward a more peaceful ending.

 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day isn’t just an excuse to take a long weekend and loaf around eating grilled meats—although those are certainly among the reasons to love the holiday. Memorial Day is the day that Americans commemorate those who gave their lives while serving in our nation’s armed forces. 

Before taking off to enjoy the holiday, here are
10 Memorial Day Facts To Put The Holiday In Perspective:

1. Memorial Day wasn’t originally called Memorial Day. It was originally named Decoration Day. Flowers were placed on the graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers to remember them and their sacrifice on the battlefield.

2. Originally, Memorial Day was designated to honor Civil War dead. Later it was changed to honor all Americans who had given their lives in the service of the country.

3. The first Decoration Day took place about one month after the end of the Civil War in 1865. In several states, the practice of placing flowers on the graves began in 1866. Although several towns lay claim to the holiday, in 1966, Waterloo, NY was designated the official birthplace of the holiday.

4. It is legally required to observe a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the act designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance.

5. Despite the many different Memorial Day customs, there are two common traditions observed everywhere:

  • The first is lowering the flag to half mast until noon and raising it to full mast until sundown.
  • The other tradition is playing Taps (as is done at military funerals).

6. Several Southern states also celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. The date of the celebration is different from state to state although most Southern states celebrate in either April or May.

7. Calling Memorial Day a “national holiday“ is a bit of a misnomer. While there are 10 federal holidays created by Congress—including Memorial Day—they apply only to Federal employees and the District of Columbia. Federal Memorial Day, established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades without being docked a day’s pay. For the rest of us, our holidays were enacted state by state.

8. May 30th was originally designated for the commemoration of Memorial Day. The 30th of May was chosen since this was a day that flowers all over the country were in bloom. Since then the date has been changed to the last Monday of May, and 2016 is only the 7th time Memorial Day has been celebrated on May 30th since it was changed in 1971.

9. The first large federal observance occurred at Arlington in 1868. After the war, the former home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee became a cemetery to bury the nation’s dead. During a ceremony, children of the Soldier’s and Sailors’ Home and members of the Grand Army of the Republic walked through the cemetery singing hymn and reciting poetry while strewing flowers on the graves, reports Veterans Affairs.

10. There have been approximately 1,243,980 American casualties of War or Military Action since the Civil War.

U.S. War Casualties By Conflict:
Civil War –
Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.
World War I116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.
World War II405,399 Americans died.
Korean War 36,574 Americans died.
Vietnam Conflict58,220 Americans died.
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm383 U.S. service members died.
Operation Iraqi Freedom4,424 U.S. service members died.
Operation New Dawn 73 U.S. service members died.
Operation Enduring Freedom2,349 U.S. service members died.
Freedom’s Sentinel Casualties – 22 U.S. service members have died as of May 2016.
Inherent Resolve Totals – 20 U.S. service members have died as of May 2016.


How do you plan to honor our fallen service members as you celebrate the Memorial Day holiday?

 

Post updated from article originally published in 2015 by Inquisitr.com
Colorado VNA Home Health CareUpdated Services Map

Better Together: Colorado VNA and RVNA Merge Operations, Expand Services

Colorado VNA logo

               Contact:  Kim Howard
                             (303) 698-6517      howardk@vnacolorado.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Colorado VNA and RVNA Merge Operations, Expand Services

 

April 12, 2016 (Denver, Colorado) – Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA) and the Rehabilitation & Visiting Nurse Association (RVNA) announced today that they will be merging their two nonprofit organizations as of May 1st  to achieve greater efficiencies while expanding capabilities and services. The decision was unanimously approved by both agencies’ board of directors after several months of negotiations and due diligence.

Both Colorado VNA and RVNA have provided excellent care for decades, and in Colorado VNA’s case for well over a century. Yet the rapidly changing healthcare environment and emergence of large-scale health systems and insurance companies is driving a need for equally large and better clinically-integrated home health agencies.
“Combining Colorado VNA and RVNA into one agency will provide economies of scale in home health not previously seen in Colorado. Together, Colorado VNA and RVNA will create the network and services required to be successful in the changing, and more complex, healthcare landscape,” states Colorado VNA CEO, Chris Lee.

 

Adds RVNA CEO Lori Follett of the merger, “Although RVNA has sustained itself for almost 37 years, this merger will help take our organization to the next level in terms of being able to attract and retain more staff with better pay and benefits as well as operate more efficiently and better serve our clients with technology improvements.”

 

RVNA clinical operations and leadership will remain in the Greeley area, while administrative functions migrate to the Denver headquarters. Patients across the Front Range will benefit from organizational synergies and from a shared commitment to provide the highest quality and most compassionate care.
 
About Colorado VNA
Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA) is a nonprofit, Medicare-certified home health organization founded in 1889. Its mission is to provide a continuum of health care in the home and community that supports optimal well-being, independence, and dignity. In 2015, Colorado VNA provided more than 220,000 home and community health and wellness touchpoints. The organization’s comprehensive array of health services spans all levels of intensity of care for individuals, communities, and businesses. Colorado VNA has also developed innovative community programs to help seniors age-in-place. For more information, visit www.VNAColorado.org.

 

About RVNA

RVNA, a nonprofit, community-based homecare agency, has been serving Northern Colorado since 1979. RVNA’s mission is to provide exceptional family-centered and compassionate home care solutions to the residents of Larimer and Weld counties, regardless of one’s ability to pay. For more information, visit www.rvna.info.

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Press Release – May 11, 2015

Colorado Visiting Nurse Association Hires CEO

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DENVER, CO (May 11, 2015) – Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA), a nonprofit home health care agency, is delighted to announce that its Board of Directors has appointed Christopher Lee as President and Chief Executive Officer. Former President and CEO Laura Reilly retired this past February.
“Chris is a natural choice for this position,” commented Colorado VNA Board Chair Nedra Downing. “He brings a fresh perspective to our mission and business acumen along with his background in home health care.”
Lee has extensive experience in home health and healthcare administration. His deep expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, business development, electronic medical record implementation, and Lean performance improvement and operations management. Most recently, Lee served as the General Manager of SCL Health Solutions, LLC, SCL Health’s home health service line. In this position Chris was responsible for the
acquisition, integration, and expansion of a home health agency in Denver. SCL Home Health expanded by over 40% under his leadership while also decreasing readmissions for complex patients discharged from SCL’s Front Range hospitals. In addition, Lee has held leadership positions with Exempla Healthcare including serving on the leadership team that opened Good Samaritan Medical Center.
Lee joins Colorado VNA at an opportune time. “The impending ‘silver tsunami’ – the dramatic growth of the senior population over the next 15 years – has vast implications for home health agencies such as ours,” he noted.
“Reports estimate that as many as 70% of Americans who reach age 65 will need some form of long-term care, and increasingly supportive care in the home is seen as a viable alternative to a skilled nursing facility. Colorado VNA plans to build on its 125 years of compassionate and quality care so that we can meet the demands of the expanding elderly population. I am thrilled to lead such a venerable institution.”
ABOUT COLORADO VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1889 as the Denver Flower Mission, Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has grown to become the state’s largest home health care agency, providing 200,000 visits per year. Colorado Visiting Nurse Association’s compassionate, dedicated, and experienced healthcare professionals are recognized for their expert, personal medical attention and for their strong tradition of ensuring continuity of care while creating warm relationships with patients. In both 2013 and 2014, Colorado VNA was awarded Home Care Elite Status by the National Research Corporation for placing in the top 25% of home care agencies based on health performance measures.
www.vnacolorado.org
Media Contact: Jodie Deshmukh, Development Manager
deshmukhj@vnacolorado.org
303.698.6308