Nancy Deming Interview
This is Jean McMillen. Today I am interview Nancy Deming. She is going to talk about the SVNA and the changes that happened recently. Today’s date is Dec. 17, 2021. This is file #46, cycle 4.
JM:What is your name?
JM:What is your birthdate?
JM:And your birth place?
ND:I was born in Torrington, Ct. at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.
JM:When did you come to Salisbury?
ND:I came to Salisbury in 2018. (She was then Executive Director of the Salisbury Visiting Nurses Association Ed.)
JM:You told me about your career path and you started off in hospital work.
ND:Yes I did and then I moved into Home Care at VNA Northwest.
JM:What did you do in hospital work. Were you in ICU?
ND:I worked in the traumatic brain injury unit at Gaylord Hospital. Then I worked in general med/surgery at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, before entering Home Care.
JM:How many years did you work in hospitals?
JM:Then you went to Home Care and you worked there how many years?
ND:Oh it has been well over 23 years in Home Care maybe 25 years.
JM:Good for you! What is “All about you”?
ND:“All about you” is another visiting nurse organization that does a lot of site care for patients that need medication administration at home. They also provide the traditional skilled health care.
JM:Where are they located?
ND:They are located in Naugatuck, Ct., New Haven and Torrington.
JM:What is your job title now?
ND:I am the Salisbury Branch Manager.2.
JM:When did the merger occur?
ND:Aug 30, 2020
JM:Why was the merger necessary?
ND:There have been a lot of changes in the last decade and one half and in health care in general. There has been a huge amount of consolidation. There has been the formation of health care systems such as Hartford Health, Nuvance, or Trinity. It takes a larger entity to survive, reimbursement changes have affected us. We have a very astute board that said, “We need to look forward.” They worked 2 years on deciding on a merger: the one they finally chose. They really investigated a lot of options.
JM:Who actually merged?
ND:We the Salisbury Visiting Nurses merged with Foothills VNA. But 6 months prior to that, the VNA Northwest which was located in Bantam, Ct. had merged with Foothills VNA.
JM:Where is Foothills located?
ND:Foothills is located in Winsted, Ct. All three of these VNAs have been in business for over a century each with almost identical missions. They were all non-profit visiting nurse agencies. That was one of the reasons the board made that decision because we were so like-minded.
JM:Did it go well
ND:It went extremely well. It was well thought out. I think just the similarities and in our business admission just kind of melded us together.
JM:With all the background work done by the board to make it work.
JM:Could you give me a brief overview of the organization now?
ND:Yes, we cover all of Litchfield County and a few towns in Hartford County. We provide home health care which is the largest program. We provide hospice care. We also provide Wellness programs.
JM:Where is your headquarters located?
ND:Winsted is our main office.
JM:Who does the intake?
ND:The intake department is now located in the Winsted office. Anyone can call or fax any office and get the same results.
JM:Oh good. When you talk about our community of Salisbury, what is Home Health?3.
ND:Home Health is essentially providing skilled medical care in the home. If somebody has an acute change in their health condition, or they have an exacerbation of an existing condition, or they have had surgery, we can send in a nurse, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, medical social work home health aide, or a registered dietician to get them back on their feet so they can manage this condition at home.
JM:What is Hospice?
ND:Hospice is the end of life care which focuses on comfort and quality of life as opposed to a cure. It also supports the family and patient entering that process.
JM:What is a Wellness Clinic?
ND:A Wellness Clinic can be a variety of things. We offer blood pressure clinics, flu vaccine clinics, balance classes which are really for falling prevention. We also have a program under that wellness umbrella called Health Guidance. That is where an RN or an LPN will go out once a month and visit somebody in their home just to do vital sign check to make sure they are taking their medications OK, if they have any questions, or to make changes. It is a free program.
JM:Home Assistance (See Meghan Kenny’s interview)
ND:Home Assistance is a private duty company that was owned by a Salisbury visiting Nurse. That is where they send a care giver into the home that can provide personal care, they can do shopping, errands and light housekeeping, or transportation.
JM:It is similar to Chore Service (See Pat Wright and Jane MacLaren’s interviews)
ND:Yes That is usually paid for privately: it can also be covered by Long Term Care Insurance.
JM:Who makes referrals?
ND:Most referrals come from hospitals that can be hospitals in the state or outside of the state because people can often go to New York for their care and then end up back here for their rehabilitation. Any skilled nursing facility (like Geer or Noble Ed.) doctor’s offices and on rare occasions it can be someone advocating for themselves or a neighbor and they will just call in.
JM:How can you be contacted?
ND:We can be contacted the easiest way is by phone. The phone number is 860-435-0816 for our Salisbury office.
JM:You have a website.
ND:Yes we do. It is WWW.VNHLC.org. That stands for Visiting Nurses& Hospice of Litchfield County.
JM:Do you have brochures?4.
ND:Yes we do. They would be found in our local community center, doctor’s offices, and if there isn’t one where you are, just call the Salisbury number and we will make sure we get you one.
JM:How are you funded?
ND:WE are funded by Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance and by donations.
JM:Are you well=-funded?
ND:We are well funded by the Salisbury community: they are very generous in their donations. I would say as far as our commercial payers go, that is always a struggle.
JM;But it is the home town people who really support it.
ND:They really do. For years they have been our support.
JM:I have used your services for myself and my husband and I know how wonderful you are. (Also see Kathleen Shortell’s interview for nursing care.)
Do you have anything you would like to add to this before we close?
ND:I would just like to say to anybody to would be listening that this merger was actually done to preserve our mission and to enable the Salisbury branch to provide further services to the community for years and years to come. I think that the board was forward thinking and willing to join together to create all of the staff offices efficiencies. I think all the VNAs could have been at risk. I just think it is a wonderful service to preserve and save because as the ones who have had it know it is something you just don’t want to lose in your town.
JM:You certainly don’t. Thank you so much.
ND:Thank you, Jean.