2019 Nightingale Award

Nightingale Award for 2019

We are proud to announce that Jean Pickens, BS, RN, Manager of Community Health Programs, is a recipient of the highest award in nursing, the Nightingale Award.  Given to nurses who represent the best of talent, service, compassion and care, Jean has dedicated her career to healthcare and currently manages the Community Health Program at the VNA.  Jean is instrumental in area health education, the immunization program, and local blood pressure and blood sugar testing.

“It is through the unlimited compassion and talent of our nurses that we are able to meet the unique needs of individual patients and their families in the towns that we serve,” said Nancy Scheetz, Executive Director of the Farmington Valley VNA. “Nurses are extraordinary advocates for patients. Jean Pickens has touched thousands of lives in her daily interactions with patients, families and their communities. When Jean is out with her staff in the area immunization centers or monitoring blood pressure and sugar levels, she is reaching our own communities right where it counts.

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Special Volunteers

Companion Dogs

Visitors are always a bright spot when you are not feeling well. Even more special is a visit from a very large soft dog who patiently allows you to pet his soft thick fur and look into his understanding eyes.

Vikahn and Yulee were a father and son team of a breed called Leonbergers, very very large dogs, who have worked as hospice companion volunteers along with their owner Vic Neumann at the Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association. Sadly, the dad Vikahn recently passed away from age related disease. He was an amazing dog who provided so much love to many. Vikahn even provided comfort to the families in Newtown following their school tragedy.

Yulee is now visiting solo, following well in his dad’s footsteps and providing companionship to the homebound, hospice patients, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, nursing facilities and schools. He brings fond memories of patients’ own pets and the enjoyment of his company is obvious on the faces of those he visits. He often calms those who are upset and brings company to the lonely.

Leonbergers weigh up to 170 lbs. and can be over 30” tall. They are a lush-coated giant breed of German origin and have a gentle nature and serenity well suited to providing companionship in many situations. They truly enjoy the companionship and attention and will sit or stand patiently enjoying the moment. Yulee is so tall that patients can pet them right at their bedside and his gentle nature encourages interaction with all people. All dogs who visit hospice patients need to be certified pet therapy dogs and Yulee is certified through Therapy Dogs International.

Blood Sugar Testing

Blood Sugar Testing - Farmington Valley VNA

The VNA is now offering blood sugar testing along with our other community health services of blood pressure screening and seasonal flu shots. As high blood sugar can often go undetected, these free clinic tests can be a key in preventative health care. View our Calendar at http://farmingtonvalleyvna.org/wp/events/h. (Fasting for 2 hours prior the test is recommended.) Why should you get tested? 

Here’s why:
Glucose, or sugar, is the fuel that powers cells throughout the body. When something goes wrong—and cells aren’t absorbing the glucose—the resulting high blood sugar damages nerves, blood vessels, and organs, possibly setting the stage for dangerous complications.  High blood sugar causes no obvious symptoms at all, at least at first. About 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but one in four has no idea. Another 86 million have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your blood sugar tested if you are at risk for diabetes. That includes people who are overweight, physically inactive, have high blood pressure or have a family history. A single high blood sugar test isn’t enough to diagnose diabetes, because blood sugar can spike if you are sick or under stress. But if repeated tests are elevated, it’s a sign you have a problem. The good news is that catching it early—before you have signs and symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, headaches, fatigue, dry mouth, dry itchy skin, or difficulty concentrating, can help you get treated and avoid serious complications down the road. The VNA is here to help. So please stop in to one of our clinics.

Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

Stages of Alzheimer's Farmington Valley VNA

When it comes to Alzheimer’s the precise number of stages is somewhat arbitrary. Some experts use a simple three-phase model (early, moderate and end), while others have found a granular breakdown to be a more useful aid to understanding the progression of the illness.

The 7 Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

The most common system, developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg of New York University, breaks the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages. This framework for understanding the progression of Alzheimer’s disease has been adopted and used by a number of healthcare providers as well as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here is summary of the seven stages of Alzheimer’s disease based on the ideas of Dr. Resiberg:

Stage 1: No Impairment
During this stage, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline
The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones.

Stage 3: Mild Decline
At this stage, the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. Performance on memory and cognitive tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

Patients in stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

-Finding the right word during conversations
-Remembering names of new acquaintances
-Planning and organizing
-People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline
In stage four of Alzheimer’s disease clear cut symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Patients with stage four Alzheimer’s disease:

-Have difficulty with simple arithmetic
-May forget details about their life histories
-Have poor short term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)
-Inability to manage finance and pay bills

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline
During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, patients begin to need help with many day to day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

-Significant confusion
-Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
-Difficulty dressing appropriately
-On the other hand, patients in stage five maintain a modicum of functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

Stage 6: Severe Decline
Patients with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s disease need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

-Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings
-Major personality changes and potential behavior problems
-The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing
-Inability to recognize faces except closest friends and relatives
-Inability to remember most details of personal history
-Loss of bowel and bladder control

Stages 7: Very Severe Decline
Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. In stage seven of the disease, patients lose ability to respond to their environment or communicate. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of the illness, patients may lose their ability to swallow.

Source: www.alzheimers.net