United Way of Northwest Connecticut is working to advance the common good of our local northwest friends and neighbors. One way we do that is focusing on the health and well-being of our residents. In many respects, if you have your health, you have one of the key building blocks for a better tomorrow.
It has been more than two decades and 1.5 million patient visits since Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut began its service in Litchfield County. The nonprofit agency remains strong in its commitment to its mission--to ensure access to home health care and hospice services for everyone in the community, regardless of their ability to pay—providing free or reduced-cost home care services for more than 200 area residents during 2010. The more than 100 Torrington branch staff members, most of whom live in northwest Connecticut, believe that advocating for the needs of their patients is just as important as providing the care they need in their homes each day. It’s in their DNA, embodied in the agency’s HEART (Humor, Excellence, Attitude, Respect and Teamwork) values and on display each day on a variety of levels.
In fact, VNS nurses, therapists, social workers and home health aides begin their patient advocacy immediately upon admission. Working with the referring physician, agency clinicians develop a very specific plan of care for their patients designed to allow their patients to fully recover at home and avoid a hospital or nursing home admission. Throughout the treatment process, agency clinicians maintain close contact with the physician’s office to ensure appropriate on-going care is delivered. This advocacy is especially important for low income patients and those with multiple chronic illnesses who need to maintain a healthy home environment as well as adjustments in their treatments and medications during their recovery process.
On a branch or agency level, VNS works with a variety of state and private agencies to ensure appropriate care and access to much-needed social services. Many of these patients have on-going health and economic difficulties that require VNS clinicians and social workers to assess the patients’ specific needs and serve as liaisons between their patients and other social services organizations to make sure that patients have the resources necessary to maintain their health and their independence.
And, finally, VNS’ commitment to patient advocacy frequently takes agency personnel to the halls of Congress in Washington and the Connecticut State Legislature in Hartford to support legislation and public policies that ensure the availability of home health care services for everyone in the communities served by the agency. VNS has established a nationwide reputation for its home health and hospice advocacy work with federal and state government governments and Connecticut’s elected officials.
The United Way of Northwest Connecticut funds 24 agencies that reach 58,936 of your local friends and neighbors in the 25 communities in the16 towns of our Northwest Connecticut territory. With the exception of $8,900, which goes to United Way Worldwide, all the money raised here stays here.
Where do you turn when you find yourself in need?
Give. Advocate. Volunteer.