The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has always been committed to providing charitable care to people in our community who are in need—even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the diseases and living conditions have changed since VNSNY’s founding in 1893, our commitment to the people who need our care hasn’t. In 2020—together with our generous supporters and community partners—VNSNY provided $53 million in charitable programs and community care. These programs touch the lives of thousands of patients each year, from newborns to centenarians, regardless of their ability to pay.
VNSNY provides free and discounted interdisciplinary home care to thousands of under- or uninsured New Yorkers who otherwise might go without care. We also help eligible individuals enroll in Medicaid and/or Medicare so they can access the care they need. Through the Patient Assistance Program Fund, VNSNY clinicians provide vulnerable, disadvantaged patients with resources that promote comfort and healing, such as prescription medications, eyeglasses, and air conditioners.
Last year, our hospice and palliative care programs provided multidisciplinary team-based medical and emotional care for over 6,400 patients at the end of life and their families, to help manage symptoms and promote dignity and quality of life. Charitable donations also support our Hospice Physician Fellowship Training program to educate future leaders in this compassionate care; and outreach to expand hospice access in Black and Latino communities typically underrepresented in these vital services, such as the HOPE program, connecting African Americans and Hispanics in Harlem and the Bronx with needed hospice care.
VNSNY conductions outreach to expand health care access in communities typical underserved and underrepresented in these vital services. Efforts include the VNSNY Community Collaborations and Hospice Outreach Program Effort (HOPE). HOPE is designed to increase awareness of, engagement in, and access to hospice and palliative care services among African Americans and Latinos residing in Central Harlem and the Bronx, areas where hospice under-utilization is prevalent.
The VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research is devoted to the study of clinical and policy issues related to the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective health services at home. Conducting scientifically rigorous research and supporting informed decision-making by providers, policymakers, and consumers, the research center advances the national knowledge base underpinning home- and community-based services.
VNSNY’s Chinatown Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) works collaboratively to improve the health and social welfare of aging Asian Americans in New York City’s Chinatown. The program offers outreach in the home as well as recreational activities at its Chinatown location, which it shares with the VNSNY Chinatown Community Center. The Community Center is a vital neighborhood resource, offering workshops, activities, support and connection.
CMHS offers more than two dozen community outreach programs for underserved children and adults struggling with acute or chronic mental illness or substance abuse disorders. These life-changing programs served 15,000+ vulnerable New Yorkers in 2019, including 1700 children and their families, and are provided in collaboration with local public schools and state and city mental health officials, among other partners.
VNSNY outreach provides New York’s LGBT senior community with greater access to our services and raises awareness of VNSNY as a safe and trusted ally. All VNSNY clinicians, administrative and senior staff have received training on working with LGBT communities from the organization SAGE, Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders. In addition, VNSNY provides specialized care at home for patients before and after gender affirmation surgery.
VNSNY’s Maternity, Newborn and Pediatric (MNP) Services provide family-focused home care, including skilled nursing, rehabilitation therapy, social work and home health aide services, to children with serious and complex medical needs, including childhood cancers, HIV/AIDS, and complications from premature birth. We work closely with the families and their physicians to ensure the best possible outcomes.
Part of a successful evidence-based national program, VNSNY’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NF) works closely with low-income, first-time mothers—nearly half of whom are teenagers—and their babies to break generational poverty and improve the family’s future. Specially trained NFP nurses work one-on-one from pregnancy to the child’s second birthday to help young mothers stay healthy, meet educational and career goals, and keep their children healthy, learning and thriving. We worked with 983 families in 2019.
As part of the We Honor Veterans program, VNSNY provides culturally sensitive community-based hospice care to address the unique physical, emotional and logistical needs of military veterans and their families at end of life. In addition to providing clinical care, we help connect veterans and their families with community resources and veteran-specific benefits, and hold bedside recognition ceremonies that honor their military service. In 2020, we expanded veterans community outreach to include home care services.
VNSNY volunteers have a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of patients, including some of our most vulnerable children and frail seniors. Contributing 40,000 hours of service in 2019, our volunteers help out with a wide range of activities, including visiting hospice patients, working in administrative roles alongside clinical and business staff, knitting scarves, blankets, and sweaters for our patients, and tutoring elderly Chinatown residents in English.