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Patients, Donors, Volunteers, and Staff Share Their Stories

VNA Care's mission is to provide the right care with kindness and compassion every day for every person we serve. We'll be sharing stories here about the ways our mission has made a difference in the lives of our patients and their loved ones, and what it means to our staff, volunteers, and donors who make this important work possible.


Speech-Language Pathologist Dedicated to Helping Patients Find Ways to do Things They Never Thought They'd do Again

By the time patients with stroke, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and other debilitating conditions are under the care of Danielle Gordon, MS, SLP, they’ve often heard about all the things they will never be able to do again. “Maybe they aren’t going to talk the same way as before. Maybe they aren’t going to eat the same way as before. Speech-language pathologists play a big role in reassuring people that you’re going to be able to do these things again, but it’s just going to be a little different,” said Danielle. (read more


Home Health RN Honored to be Welcomed into Patients' Homes and Their Lives

Heather Bliss, RN, and her sister have both dedicated their careers to nursing. They often find themselves comparing their experiences — Heather in home health care at VNA Care and her sister in an emergency room. (read more


RN Inspired to Make Career Change After Seeing the Impact of Hospice Firsthand

Hospice care is available wherever someone calls home, including the long-term care facility where Andy Binder, RN, once worked. “I saw the difference when hospice came into the nursing home and how those patients were more comfortable at the end of life. That got me interested in a career in hospice,” said Andy. (read more


Occupational Therapist Loves Helping Patients Thrive at Home

When Heather O’Hare, OTR/L, introduces herself to patients as their occupational therapist, there’s often confusion about her role and comments from retirees that they no longer have an occupation. “To those patients, I say we describe every activity as an occupation. Bathing is an occupation. Getting dressed is an occupation. Those activities are meaningful tasks we do to complete our day,” said Heather. (read more


Former Board Chair Leaves a Legacy of Caring for the Community

John Talbourdet remembers his mother Carolyn as a tireless advocate for local causes, giving countless hours to improve the lives of vulnerable community members. VNA Care’s mission was of particular importance to Carolyn. She volunteered on the board of directors for many years and included a bequest to VNA Care in her will to promote access to vital, home-based health care services for all in need. (read more


Hospice Making it Possible for Marine Corps Veteran to Remain at Home

As Edward Hatch enlisted in the Marines in 1965, he asked a sergeant if he’d get to travel. He laughs as he remembers the sergeant’s response, “I guarantee it.” Ed was deployed to Vietnam. His tour of duty included fighting in the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns of the Vietnam War. Decades later, Ed and his wife Maureen are facing the aftermath of his service — exposure to the toxic chemical Agent Orange used by the United States military to clear foliage during the war. (read more


Couple Turns to VNA Care for Cardiac Care While Recovering from Left Ventricular Assist Device Surgery and Awaiting Heart Transplant

VNA Care’s clinicians treat patients with thousands of unique diagnoses each year. Edward Boynton’s is among the rarest. Ed underwent surgery to implant a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in his chest to help his heart continue pumping blood while he awaits a heart transplant. (read more


Behind the Scenes with Visiting Nurse Freida Gathingo, RN

Freida Gathingo, RN, firmly believes there’s no place like home for people to heal and nurses to grow both professionally and personally. With more than two decades of nursing experience in a variety of settings, Freida joined VNA Care two years ago and is among the clinicians recognized in the Thanks for Caring Society. (read more


Family’s Charitable Support Honors Beloved Wife, Mother and Recognizes Extraordinary Care Provided by Rose Monahan Hospice Home Staff

When doctors shared there were no further treatments that would prolong Mary McKeon’s life, Don McKeon and his family had no doubt about what they could do to ensure his beloved wife and family received the care and support they needed in their final days together. (read more


Retired Nurse Heals from Physical, Emotional Trauma with Support and Encouragement of VNA Care’s Home Health Clinicians

It was just before dawn on that life-changing day, as Patricia Boyle returned home following a brief stay in the emergency room while undergoing tests for pain. She started up the first of two steps to her porch when she collapsed and hit her head on the ground. She managed to get up, but fell yet again. (read more


Family Cherishes “Long Goodbye” at Home with Beloved Husband, Father

VNA Care’s hospice team gave the Farrer family one last month together at home — filled with friends, laughter, and new memories they hold dear when reminiscing about their late father and husband who was larger than life. (read more


Physical Therapist Helps Patients Reach Healthcare Goals, Reclaim Lives

Far too often, Joanna Donato, DPT, sees how pain and physical limitations brought about by an injury or illness drain people’s sense of hope. As she works one-on-one with her physical therapy patients, she knows how important it is to “help them access the deeper part of themselves that they didn’t know was in there” to restore hope and reclaim their lives. (read more


RN Became Patient’s "Rock" Throughout Debilitating Health Ordeal

Pain took over Cheryl Tubert’s life. Ulcers on her legs, caused by poor circulation, made every day a challenge. At times, she found herself bedridden or forced to use a walker to get around her home. The pain would bring her to tears. (read more


Couple Finds Comfort, Compassion, and Support with VNA Care's Hospice

Leona Keefe found herself drawn to the Rose Monahan Hospice Home on the fifth anniversary of her husband David’s passing there. VNA Care’s hospice team was a source of compassion and comfort for the couple in their final months together. (read more


Speech-Language Pathologist Focuses on Helping Patients Meet Their Goals

There’s nothing more gratifying for Amber Pombo, MS, CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist, than helping a patient reach their goals — whether it’s overcoming a swallowing disorder to eat a cheeseburger again or learn new ways to communicate with loved ones when speech is no longer possible. (read more


Doris Lynch Leaves her Legacy with VNA Care’s Hospice

Giving back to the community she cared about so deeply was simply the way Doris Lynch lived her life. Her commitment to helping others became part of her legacy through a bequest to VNA Care’s hospice program. (read more


Volunteer Makes a Difference in the Lives of Patients, Families During End-of-Life Journey

Working with individuals facing a terminal illness seems to run in hospice volunteer Debbie Krieg’s family. Among her siblings and cousins are two more hospice volunteers, two hospice nurses, and a hospice physician. (read more


Hospice Nurse Encourages People to "Enjoy the Dash" and Celebrate Life

Perhaps the most beautiful sunrise Sheila LaPointe has ever seen was from her bed at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s intensive care unit. (read more


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