Smiling health care worker embracing female patient.Programs

VNA, More Than Just Hospice Care

Many people associate the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) exclusively with hospice, however, we offer so much more, including multi-faceted home care services. These services are offered to all members of the community, regardless of their ability to afford their care. That’s because providing quality healthcare to local residents who are uninsured and underinsured is a key aspect of the VNA’s mission, which sets us apart from other local home health agencies.

Our home health services provide comprehensive coordinated care through an interdisciplinary team of professionals who work closely with our patients’ physicians to arrange care in their home or place of residence. Our focus is to provide compassionate, innovative care of the highest quality, setting the standard for patients and caregivers needing home health services. These services include cardiac care, wound care, cancer care, neurological/dementia care, fall prevention, and care for chronic illnesses such as COPD and kidney disease.

VNA also offers the Hospital Prevention Program (HPP), a patient-centered home health service launched last year. It’s geared toward helping high-risk patients with severe diagnoses, like end-stage respiratory disease and congestive heart failure, who are susceptible to hospitalization or rehospitalization, remain safely at home. Not only do patients benefit physically and mentally, but they avoid high costs associated with hospitalization.

This respectful, comprehensive approach to healthcare is reflected in another VNA program, Community Health Services, which is supported by the VNA & Hospice Foundation. This includes the VNA Mobile Health Clinic, which provides affordable healthcare to the vulnerable in our community, including many young families.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), who are qualified to examine, diagnose and prescribe treatments and medications, see patients for illnesses such as upper respiratory infections; eye and ear infections; minor cuts, skin infections and rashes. They also provide school and sports physicals for Indian River County students. Our APRNs also provide health education and health screenings throughout the community to promote living a healthy lifestyle.

This holistic approach to healthcare is also a cornerstone of VNA’s flagship program, hospice. Home hospice care is provided by a patient’s interdisciplinary team that’s comprised of a medical director, residential nurse case manager (RNCM), social worker and chaplain. Home health aides, volunteers and music therapists are also integral parts of the team. Routine care may include pain management, symptom management, assistance with daily tasks and personal hygiene, like bathing, and emotional and spiritual counseling for the family. The frequency of visits by VNA caregivers is based on the patient’s plan of care developed by the interdisciplinary team and family.

For those patients who require intense around-the-clock care, VNA Hospice House is another option. The VNA Hospice House feels like a comfortable, elegant home-away-from-home that includes beautifully appointed patient rooms. Fortunately, VNA Hospice House is also available to home hospice patients for five days once a month for Respite Care. The goal is to provide the primary caregiver, usually a family member of the hospice patient, “time off” from caregiving while their loved one receives 24/7 coordinated care from the in-house VNA Hospice House staff.

If you would like to learn more about services supported by the VNA & Hospice Foundation, please visit


A Journey With Hospice Inspires A Volunteer

“My mom dying in a hospital was not the best, so that’s when I became interested in hospice,” says Karen Formont, a volunteer for the Visiting Nurse Association’s (VNA) Golf-A-Thon, VNA & Hospice Foundation’s annual fundraising event. During the monthly Golf-A-Thon meetings, Karen learned about the two types of hospice care VNA offers: home hospice care and in-patient hospice care at VNA Hospice House, a state-of-the art facility in Vero Beach for end-of-life care. She was impressed by VNA’s comprehensive approach to hospice, and when her aunt became sick, advised her cousin to contact the non-profit. “My cousin’s first opinion was, ‘Oh hospice, that’s dreary. You’re just kind of sent there to die,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, you know nothing about hospice.’”

Fortunately, Karen’s cousin took her advice, and her mom spent her final days comfortably at the VNA Hospice House. “Afterward, my cousin was just crying on the phone with me (saying) ‘thank you so much, what a wonderful way for everyone to say goodbye to her.’ I think the problem with hospice is people don’t know what they don’t know,” says Karen.

During Karen’s aunt’s stay at the VNA Hospice House, her care included music therapy, a special VNA Hospice program that Karen said her late aunt and extended family thoroughly appreciated. Another VNA service Karen was educated about was advance care planning, something she had personal experience with before her mom and dad passed away. “It’s easier for the person to make the decisions about themselves than it is for the family, and I think that’s another thing they’re very helpful with here at VNA, helping you with the steps to take,” she says.

Witnessing her aunt’s experience with hospice made Karen appreciate the benefits of having hospice care sooner rather than later. “I wish that people would contact this organization before the last few moments of someone’s death and realize they can get the support both before and after their loved one’s death,” she says.

Karen’s recent familial experience with hospice has also inspired her to volunteer even more. “I want to start sitting with people (on hospice) that have no one to be with them because I just think it’s very important to have someone in the room,” she says. “Everybody deals with death at some point, whether it’s a spouse, a parent or a child, and that’s why I feel really passionate about it.”

To learn more about VNA services or becoming a VNA volunteer, please visit

Senior couple discussing advanced care planning paperwork.Programs

Why Advance Care Planning Is So Important

While advance care planning is useful for anyone, it’s particularly important for those looking for the best end-of-life care experience and considering hospice. At the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA), we understand this process may initially seem daunting, which is why we’ve made it as seamless as possible with the help of our advance care planning team.

The first step of the program is an information session, where you meet with a nurse practitioner and licensed clinical social worker in your home to evaluate your health and educate you on available services and treatment options. They will also provide you with supportive literature and tools to empower informed decision making and self-advocacy after the visit.

The importance of advance care planning cannot be overstated. It plants the first seeds of thought about your long-term healthcare wishes and serves to invite open conversation and consideration of what are often deemed uncomfortable topics. If appropriate, it affords the opportunity to receive accurate education about hospice philosophy and services, dispelling myths and breaking down barriers to what is the only service that can support the needs of the dying.

Advance care planning not only provides the opportunity for choice and active participation in your plan of care, but it is a way of planning proactively rather than reactively – before a health crisis occurs. It’s also a way of saying ‘I love you’ to your family. By having an advance directive in place, it alleviates the burden of decision-making for them.

For more information about advance care planning, please call our office at 772.567.5551 and ask to speak with one of our advance care planning specialists. You can also find more information about advance care planning at