VNANE 2013 Innovator Award winners

The VNANE 2013 Innovator Award winners are the Nashoba Nursing Service & Hospice (Shirley, MA) and the VNA of Greater Lowell (Lowell, MA). A synopsis of their programs follow.

For 2013, the second year of the Innovation Awards, the Member Innovation was awarded to Karen Bernhardt, CEO of Nashoba Nursing Service and Hospice, Shirley, MA. During fiscal year 2012-2013, Nashoba Nursing Service developed and implemented a Volunteer Visitor Program for seniors aging in place. Due to the success of the pilot, the program will continue this year with additional volunteers being trained in the fall to meet a growing need. Trained visiting volunteers encourage and support healthy aging habits, encourage independence and provide companionship. The health benefits of social connection have long been acknowledged and conversely, loneliness can contribute to negative health status. By visiting on a regular basis, a volunteer not only helps alleviate loneliness, but is also aware of and reports changes in the patient’s or caregiver’s behavior or condition. Building capacity by increasing volunteerism is cost effective, and has health benefits for the community at large. Volunteers learn healthy aging strategies they use in their own lives and with their own family members. Additionally, the sense of purpose that comes with volunteering is shown to have positive health benefits for volunteers.

The Partner Innovation was awarded to Rachel Chaddock, CEO VNA of Greater Lowell, Lowell. MA for their “Our Health Care Affordability Begins at Home” program. This is the only home health care project funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation under its Making Health Care Affordable grant program. This three-year project (2012-2014) is providing evidence that home health care expertise can benefit any patient with a chronic disease who is at risk of hospitalization. This project offers the benefits of home health care to patients who are not “homebound” or who do not meet the usual Medicare/ payer requirements.

We thank all who submitted innovations and encourage you to do so again next year. Thank you and congratulations to Karen Bernhardt and Rachel Chaddock. We will update the Innovator Awards forms in the coming months and invite all members to submit nominations for the 2014 awards. Watch for a notice when these are updated!

Click here for more information about the Innovator Award.