Visiting Nurse Services recognizes 10,000,000 patient visit

It has taken over 100 years, but Bridgeport-headquartered Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut (VNS) has achieved a distinguished milestone that few home healthcare providers have reached: 10 million patient care visits.

On Friday, June 24, Virginia Oliver, a Bridgeport resident, received a clinical home visit by VNS nurse, Collette Sengupta, as part of her physician directed care plan, one of the 800 patient care visits provided by the agency each day. This visit was acknowledged as VNS’ ten millionth visit, a record that dates back to 1909 with the agency’s first recorded visit, which was also for a Bridgeport resident. Ms. Oliver is a homebound patient receiving clinical specialty care provided by VNS as an alternative to hospitalization or a nursing home stay.

VNS was established in Bridgeport in 1909 as The Visiting Nurse Association of Bridgeport, a community resource with a single nurse traveling by bicycle providing home visits during a tuberculosis outbreak.

Today, VNS has a staff of nearly 450 healthcare professionals providing 250,000 home visits a year for approximately 9,000 patients each year. As a not-for-profit agency with fully staffed clinical offices in Bridgeport, Trumbull, Oxford and Torrington, VNS is among the largest home healthcare providers in Connecticut.

President and Chief Executive Officer, William F. Sullivan, Jr., said VNS has always been inspired by the founders’ commitment to its core mission to make a positive difference in providing home healthcare to the sick, injured, the elderly, the dying and bereaved, when and where it is needed.

Sullivan acknowledged that one of the most significant changes in home healthcare over the years is that clinicians are now capable of providing advanced clinical care that previously could only be obtained in a hospital or a physician’s office, making it an effective frontline provider of healthcare services.

“Home healthcare today is definitely high-tech and VNS clinicians can provide increasingly complex care - including wound care and infusion therapy — which enables patients to recover in the comfort of their own home rather than prolonging their stay in the hospital or nursing home,” he said.

He added that “VNS is also a leader in offering hospice care services to those individuals and families facing end of life challenges with compassion and dignity. Home healthcare clinicians address a wide spectrum of patient needs and conditions, and using evidence-based care protocols and technologically-advanced equipment, as they help patients achieve optimal health outcomes.”

Sullivan noted that in today’s healthcare delivery system, VNS is partnering with hospitals, nursing homes, and physician practices to provide best-practice patient care and to lower overall health costs.

Looking ahead, the CEO said the one thing for certain is that clinical home healthcare will become an increasingly critical component of community health.

“As the boomer generation becomes older, and with our expanded capabilities to provide increasingly complex care in patient homes, the need for home healthcare will increase significantly in the next few years,” Sullivan said.

He added that one enduring link to the first patient visit in 1909 is VNS’ continuing commitment to provide care for community residents when it is needed.

“A century ago, our patients did not have health insurance and our services were entirely community funded,” he said. “While much has changed, VNS staff has a proud legacy of helping patients meet their healthcare challenges and we are committed to continually strengthening our role as a vital and essential community resource for all of the residents of the communities we serve.”

VNS by the numbers

Numbers aren't everything but they do paint an interesting picture in regards to how much territory VNS covers:

  • Connecticut communities served: 54

  • Annual patients served: 8,720

  • Patients 90 year and older: 1,069

  • Average daily patient census: 1,932

  • Annual patient visits: 248,257

  • Average weekly patient visits: 4,774

  • Staff miles travelled: 1.3 million