Home Health Care

These nonprofits help seniors stay active and better manage their health.

The Visiting Nurse Association of South Central Connecticut provides high quality home care for older adults and others with medical needs, as well as support for caregivers. One particularly successful program is the Coleman model of patient coaching/self-management, a collaboration with Yale New Haven Hospital, which has received funding by The Community Foundation.

"The goal is to reduce re-hospitalizations," explains VNA Administrator Carla Giugno. "A lot of clients are referred from the hospital for traditional home care services, but not all of them need that or are eligible. We identify high-risk patients in the hospital and visit with them to get them on board with taking care of their health."

The program aims for patients to understand their illness, reduce medication errors, and understand what they need to do to avoid re-admission to the hospital.

"We saw 50 clients in the first quarter of the program," Giugno says, "and only one was re-hospitalized within 30 days." On average, nationally between 28 percent and 40 percent of these high-risk patients are readmitted within 30 days. She adds that the VNA would like to move this model into nursing homes and possibly expand it to other hospitals.

The Clelian Center Adult Day Care Center in Hamden is run by the Apostles of the Sacred Heart. Director Sister Cecilia Marie Scaduto says most of her 100 clients have some level of dementia.

"They're not quite ready for nursing home care," she says, "but they need to be somewhere during the day. The Center provides interdenominational respite care for families from North Haven, West Haven, New Haven, Hamden and Cheshire while providing nursing care for the clients, exercising their minds, bodies and spirits." For example, every December, staff and clients put on a Nativity play, complete with costumes. "It was narrated by one of our clients, with songs between different readings," she says. "They love it."

The center also offers inter-generational programs with young people from preschool to college. Sister Cecilia says the clients like having guests.

"Our goal is to maintain their cognitive level because if you are alone, cognitively you slip more; it's important for the elderly to be socially active. They never lose their dignity because dignity is innate in their soul, but we always try to make sure they're treated in a dignified manner, preserving their self-worth."