VNA Hospice of Northwest Indiana (VNA Hospice) has been awarded full accreditation for its Palliative Care program by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC) today, announced
VNA President & CEO Bob Franko. The program is only the second in the State of Indiana to achieve this certification.
“The VNA Hospice has always been about helping people maintain their dignity, their voice in their health care decisions, and independence for as long as possible,” said Bob Franko, president and CEO of the VNA Hospice. “Our Palliative Care program fits very well in our wide continuum of care options for seniors and families and we’re extremely proud of the work and effort that went into achieving this huge milestone.”
Palliative care is a specialized form of care for people living with a serious, long-term illness, such as advanced heart failure, COPD, or cancer. It provides in-home comfort, care, and coordination among healthcare providers. Often, it provides relief from pain or functional decline, while helping to address the burdens felt by caregivers. VNA Hospice launched its Palliative Care program in 2019 after identifying gaps in local care options through collaboration with medical professionals in the community. VNA Hospice has already served more than 500 community members through the program, with the goal of easing suffering and making best days possible.
“Palliative care is emerging as an effective way to help seriously ill patients address symptoms and maximize their quality of life,” said Barbara Provini, ACHC Program Manager. “Achieving accreditation enables palliative care programs to certify they are providing safe, quality care backed by national standards.” Accreditation leader ACHC is a nonprofit with 35 years of experience promoting safe, quality patient care.
The VNA Hospice palliative care program, overseen by Rupesh Shah, DO, is staffed by two Nurse Practitioners (one who is Palliative Care certified) as well as a nurse coordinator. “We look at the patient as a whole—on physical, psychological, and spiritual levels,” explained Zachary Jesko, MSN, FNP-C, ACHPN. “Our focus is to help them through whatever they’re going through by addressing care in all aspects of life.” VNA Hospice palliative care practitioners invest time getting to know each patient, said Jesko, because each person’s needs and choices are unique. “I truly try to improve quality of life for every patient, to help them obtain their goals.” Sara Melillo, LPN, VNA Palliative Care Coordinator, explained, “Helping patients and their loved ones through some of the most difficult times and decisions by giving them the support needed makes for my best days,” she said.
VNA Hospice NWI, a locally governed nonprofit, is a premier provider of hospice and palliative care services in Northwest Indiana, trusted for more than 50 years to lead the way with compassion and comfort. VNA Hospice NWI stands out in the community for its deep roots and relationships with families and physicians; it provides community-focused, mission-based care.
The organization offers a continuum of services including hospice, palliative care, Meals on Wheels of Porter County, Medical Guardian life alert system, The We Honor Veterans Program, and Phoenix Center, a grief support service for children and families.
VNA of NWI Hospice has earned other distinctions, including ACHC accreditation for its hospice services and the Level Five distinction for the We Honor Veterans Program. VNA Hospice NWI serves Lake, LaPorte, Jasper, Porter, Newton and Starke counties with offices in Valparaiso and Crown Point.
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