6 Signs You are Ready for an At-Home Caregiver

    Could it be time to hire an at-home caregiver for yourself or a loved one? An at-home caregiver can significantly improve your physical, emotional and social health. With their help, you can live independently in your home and not have to move to assisted living. To get the most from a caregiver, it’s important to know when it’s the right time to hire someone.

    Below are six signs that you are ready to welcome an at-home caregiver into your life.

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    How to Alleviate Concerns About At-Home Health Care

    Home health care encompasses various types of clinical care all from the comfort of your house. As you evaluate your options for senior home care in Ohio, it’s normal to have concerns about what the process is like and what level of care you can expect. Doing your research and asking the right questions will alleviate your concerns and help you feel more confident about utilizing this personalized care.

    If you have concerns about at-home health care, here are some of the ways that you can cross these worries off your list.

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    Why Nonprofit Home Health Care?

    A question I get a lot from patients, families and also case managers and social workers, is, “What does it mean to be a nonprofit home care agency?” or “What difference does it make to work with a nonprofit organization vs. a for-profit organization?” Here are some of the things to consider when choosing Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio or any nonprofit home health care organization.

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    3 Signs You or a Loved One May Need Bereavement Support

    Feeling sad after losing someone is a normal response. Each person is unique and there is no single way to grieve. However, if your symptoms persist and disrupt your ability to have a normal life, you may benefit from bereavement support. Grief counseling in Ohio is available through numerous treatment facilities, support groups and counseling.

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    When is it Time for Hospice?

    Hospice care is a special kind of care given to patients who are in the final stages of a terminal disease or near the end of life. This type of care focuses on keeping the patient comfortable and providing relief from symptoms, rather than on active treatment. Providing care with compassionate, hospice care aims at maintaining the quality of life of patients as their disease progresses and they near the end.

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    Staff Say it Best: Why VNA is a Great Place to Work

    In June, 2019, Great Place to Work Institute recognized Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, under the umbrella of VNA Health Group, as a Great Place to Work. The certification process considered more than 1,000 employee surveys from across the organization. More than 60 elements were considered, including, the organization’s community impact, belief that their work makes a difference, and feeling their work has special meaning. Rankings are based on employees’ experiences, no matter who they are or what they do. Meet a few staff members and learn about what brought them to VNA. 

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    Give the Gift of Hope and Healing

    As the year draws to a close, many of us can be grateful for family, friends and good health as we celebrate the holidays. But, for so many others who are facing health challenges like a chronic illness, disability or a terminal condition, this is not the case. Fortunately, however, for many of them, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio is providing hope and support during a difficult time. 

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    Cleveland Donor Spotlight: Bob Solich

    Our donors have chosen to invest in the health and safety of those living in our communities. Their gifts allow us to expand critical services, offer new programs and support the needs of patients and families aging or recovering at home. In a new series, we’re excited to introduce you to a few of these very generous and selfless donors. 

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    Occupational Therapy vs. Physical Therapy: What’s the Difference?

    Occupational and physical therapists can treat patients in many different environments – in the hospital, in a facility, at schools or even at home. At Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, our clinicians have been treating patients in their own homes with physical and occupational therapy for over 50 years.

    This year, to celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, we talked to VNA of Ohio’s Terry Biggar, an occupational therapist for 41 years. Terry told us about the key differences between occupational and physical therapy. While there are differences between the two, both physical and occupational therapy share the same patient outcome goal: promoting patient independence and safe functioning in the home.

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    Fight against Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic

    Self Care at the Core of Counseling

    What began as a six-month pilot program, the Ambulatory Withdrawal Management Program is now in its ninth month. We talked to one client, Carl, who has been at the rehabilitation facility Stella Maris for a month. At Stella Maris treatment center, clients are initially admitted to the detox center to receive skilled nursing care as the drugs completely leave their system.

    After the detox period, participants may be admitted to the Stella Maris dorms where they begin their residential treatment program through group therapy and other activities. At that point, so soon after the initial detox, many patients are still suffering from the effects of withdrawal such as severe anxiety and depression.

    That’s where the Ambulatory Withdrawal Management Program comes in.

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    Best of the Blog 2017

    In 2017, we've told you about some of our amazing patients, clinicians and volunteers to bring stories about home health care to life. These are stories of real-life heroes who work every day to make our community better. As we close out the year, we wanted to share our top five stories. We hope they inspire you to read more, volunteer, inquire about Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio's home health care and hospice services or donate today. Enjoy!  


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    Season of Giving: Meet Our Compassionate Volunteers

    Community health nursing was a relatively new concept in 1902 when 13 pioneering women set out to provide in-home care for those in the Cleveland area. The concept grew into the Visiting Nurse Association of Cleveland and eventually into Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio. Currently, VNA of Ohio serves over 7,000 patients a year in 17 Ohio counties, providing comprehensive home healthcare services to those who need it most.

    How did VNA of Ohio become what it is today? Volunteers. 

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    Patient Emergency Fund: A Critical Safety Net for Recovery

    In July, we asked a few of our caregivers to talk about our emergency assistance program known as the Patient Emergency Fund. Caring for patients at home, our home healthcare caregivers are better able to address true patient needs. They told us incredible stories of how the Fund has made a real difference for patients in the past and continues to be an important safety net for patients that we serve. The goal of the emergency assistance is to help our patients focus on healing, recovery and regaining their independence.

    [Make a donation to the Patient Emergency Fund]

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    Working through Opiate Withdrawal [Video]

    In June, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, in partnership with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County, launched a six-month pilot program to assist recovering opioid addicts manage their withdrawal symptoms following the initial week of detox. We talked to a few patients in the program and with Jackie, a detox nurse at the Stella Maris treatment facility. Thom Huggins, RN, is the psychiatric nurse leading the program and has been at VNA of Ohio for over 25 years.


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    Depression is Not a Normal Part of Aging

    New blog post courtesy of Carol A. Clark, Publisher/Editor of Los Alamos Daily Post and courtesy of the Center for Disease Control

    Depression is a real but treatable mental illness and not a normal part of aging. However, older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression. If you are concerned about a loved one, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider to be diagnosed and treated.

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    Chicks with Sticks: VNA of Ohio Volunteer Spotlight

    Yarn, yarn, yarn. For the group that call themselves “Chicks with Sticks,” it’s all about the yarn. “It’s an addiction,” one member told us. This group of energetic and extremely talented women meets about once a week to knit and crochet. A few members of the group also sew. The group has been around for over 10 years. They started as a yarn-trading group of three women who met at the library and expanded into this group that has about 10-15 members who come regularly to their meetings in Sheffield Lake.

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    An 83-Year-Old Bilateral Amputee Shares Her Story [Video]

    “Determined.” That’s how Ruth, an 83-year-old bilateral amputee describes herself and that is certainly how she has led her life. As a bilateral amputee who has lost both of her legs above the knee, she uses a wheelchair to get around most of the time. She also does exercises, “wheelchair push-ups,” throughout the week to strengthen her arms to be able to do small tasks. But, she still practices walking on two full-leg prosthetics at least three times a week. 

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    The Cavalry Arrives: Life as an In-Home Hospice Social Worker

    The caregiver-patient relationship is what really makes home healthcare work. There needs to be a mutual trust, respect and understanding between both parties. Not to mention, the home healthcare professional needs to have a solid relationship with the patient’s families and other caregivers.

    At Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio, no one models this better than Laura Camp-Smith, a hospice social worker.

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    The Role of Homecare Professionals in Fight against Ohio’s Opioid Epidemic

    In 2016, the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office estimated that the opioid epidemic has claimed the lives of over 600 people just in Cuyahoga County. That’s more than double the 2015 death toll due to opioid overdose.

    Homecare professionals – nurses, home aides, social workers, counselors and other home health professionals – are in a very unique position to help curb this staggering statistic. Early intervention may be possible for many patients who suffer from opioid addition with the help of homecare professionals.  

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    Living with Lymphedema: A Patient’s Story

    Tom is a former CPA turned business executive at the paint company, Glidden. This past year has been a tough one for Tom and his wife, Barb. Last October, Tom learned that he had to have surgery and reacted badly to the treatment. So badly that he was diagnosed with lymphedema – chronic swelling in his legs and arms. By May, he wasn’t able to walk due to the swelling.

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    Local Experts Discuss the Importance of Integrated Healthcare

    Studies suggest that individuals with a behavioral health diagnosis are less likely to comply with their primary plan of care, resulting in higher emergency department costs and negative health outcomes. On September 14, 2016, Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio and local experts will host a panel discussion to learn how integrating holistic care can transform healthcare and positively impact the community.

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    Rehabilitation Therapies: Helping Individuals Recovering at Home

    Every year, millions of Americans are discharged from the hospital following a procedure, illness or injury. Many require intensive rehabilitation therapies to regain their strength and ultimately, their independence. As individuals are recovering after surgery, their hope is to return back to everyday life as soon as possible. Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio can help.

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    Facts about the Cost of Alzheimer’s

    Did you know that 62% of family caregivers pay for a loved one’s Alzheimer’s care out of their own savings? In the United States, Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million individuals and families. Although the disease is not a normal part of the aging process, it continues to grow in line with the aging population. As families face the emotional and financial stresses associated with Alzheimer’s, it has become imperative that caregivers begin to plan for the future.

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    The Bridge Program: Providing Care to Those with Nowhere to Go

    In Cuyahoga County, 50% of the clients admitted into the state psychiatric hospital are readmissions. Many of these individuals were unable to access care to achieve optimal health and independence. Rather, they were forced to turn to the hospital systems to receive treatment, continuing what is known as the “Revolving Door Syndrome.” To prevent the reoccurring cycle, community agencies joined forces in hopes of closing the gap for care and created the Bridge Program.

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    Wound Care 101

    Caring for a loved one who is recovering from surgery can be scary. An open surgical wound must be kept protected and carefully monitored for signs of infection. It is a daunting responsibility to manage at home.

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    Toward Healthier Seniors

    Throughout the United States, there are more than 40 million individuals aged 65 years or older, and numbers will only continue to increase. As the older population wishes to remain independent and age in place, seniors are recognizing the need to stay active and healthy, critical to making that happen.

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    5 Misconceptions About Hospice Care

    Patients, and families of those, living with a terminal illness are often faced with the difficult decision of choosing care as they near end of life. Many choose hospice to improve their quality of life during their remaining days, while the term may carry a negative connotation for others. The following facts and common misconceptions help diffuse the negative association and highlight the positive benefits of choosing hospice care.

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    7 Tips to Prevent Seniors from Misusing Prescription Drugs

    Today, the average senior is prescribed 5-6 medications for various health issues, increasing their odds of misusing prescriptions and potentially leading to extreme health risks or accidental overdoses. As the Baby Boomer population ages, the number of seniors continues to grow. Therefore, it is important to recognize if your loved one is at risk and identify tips to prevent misuse.

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    4 Step Guide for When a Loved One Needs Home Healthcare

    An aging parent is in the emergency room after forgetting to take their medication, an elderly relative has difficulty with simple tasks of daily living, or a significant other is showing early signs of Alzheimer’s. Caregivers everywhere are forced to navigate the complexities of the healthcare system, while searching for information and resources that will allow their loved one to remain in their own home. 

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    Alzheimer’s Disease: What are the Symptoms?

    When a senior friend or family member stumbles over a word or loses their keys, it is easy to dismiss it as the natural effects of aging. But those small missteps may signal a serious problem. Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, is mostly associated with the elderly, but early-onset of the cognitive disorder can affect people as young as 40.

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    May Recognizes National Arthritis Awareness Month

    In the United States, arthritis affects over 46 million individuals, costing the economy more than $124 billion per year in medical care. The indirect expenses, including lost productivity in the workplace contributing to that staggering number. As the population ages, the numbers and cost will continue to rise in the years ahead. Learn today if you or your loved one may be at risk.

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    What is Diabetes and Are You at Risk?

    Nearly 10% of the United States population has diabetes, including 25% of seniors. If present trends continue, as many as 1 in 3 adults will have diabetes by the year 2050. Those who are affected by diabetes are required to make lifestyle changes and are at greater risk for serious health complications. In order to understand the risk factors, it is important to understand what causes the disease and if you are at risk.

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    Hospice: What Physicians Should Know

    Determining when your loved one is ready to transition into hospice care is challenging. Family members often turn to their physicians to help them work through this decision and determine the next steps in the care plan. Visiting Nurse Association of Ohio sat down with MD News’ Jan Raabe to discuss the important information about choosing hospice care.

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    4 Tips for the “Sandwich Generation” Caregiver


    More than 50 million Americans support themselves, their children and are becoming the primary caregiver for an aging parent. This growing group, known as the “Sandwich Generation”, faces the financial and emotional burdens of caring for multiple generations. As parents age and require more assistance and care, it may be time to investigate options.

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    5 Tips for Coping with Grief During the Holiday Season

    Coping with the loss of a loved one or understanding and accepting a relative’s illness is extremely difficult. The holiday season, usually a time meant for celebration, can trigger feelings of absence and sorrow. For many families, traditions are no longer the same thus forcing the realization of how our lives are now different. These 5 tips can provide grief support to family members during the holidays.

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    What is Hospice and When is it Time to Consider Care?

    Accepting a loved one’s illness is overwhelming and often times devastating for families and friends. For those given a limited life expectancy, loved ones must begin to look at options to keep the patient comfortable during their end of life. In-home Hospice care allows patients to spend their remaining time in the comfort of their own home, surrounded by the people and things they know and love. Learn what hospice is and when it is the right time and option for your loved one.

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    Seasonal Affective Disorder: Who it Affects?

    Nearly 500,000 Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), meaning 10% to 20% of the country experiences the ‘winter blues’. The change of seasons brings cold and flu season, but as well an onset for depression. While individuals living in particular geographical regions are more prone to SAD, this type of depression can affect almost anyone.

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    Patients and Caregivers: How You Can Prevent a Fall in the Home

    One-third of seniors who fall in their homes suffer from injuries including lacerations, fractured bones, or head trauma. Injuries can send individuals into a long-term care facility for months at a time. To prevent your loved one from falling, take the following precautions to keep them safe and independent at home.

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    Private Duty Nursing Care: How Can it Help Me?

    When a life-limiting condition strikes, familiar surroundings become so much more important. When you don’t feel well and are worrying about the future, there is no substitute for sleeping in your own bed, the comfort of a favorite chair or the familiar view from your own window. A private duty nurse may be the solution to staying where you feel most secure.

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    Caregiver Burnout: Tips for Managing Stress and Anxiety


    Caring for a loved one? Then you know it’s not always easy. In fact, the physical, emotional and financial challenges in providing care can be difficult to juggle along with work and other obligations. Check out these tips for preventing burnout, which can lead to exhaustion, depression and more serious medical issues. After all, caregivers need care, too.

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    Communicating for the Best Care Possible

    The members of your care team may be home healthcare experts -- but you are the expert how well you are following a treatment plan, how your body is reacting to side effects of medication and how you feel overall. Learn why we encourage all patients to have honest, open dialogues with their providers.

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