VNA is going above and beyond to deliver a safe and comprehensive private care line to patients.

Aging is an unavoidable part of life. For many, once a certain age hits, simple tasks such as shopping, cleaning the house and even bathing can become too difficult. Because of this, many place their aging family members in nursing homes, where they can be properly cared for. Of course, many seniors would prefer to stay at home, where they feel safe and comfortable. Though this may seem impossible, VNA (Visiting Nurse Association) makes private home care accessible and helps seniors “age safely.”

Jessica Cassone & Ann Culley

The Brevard County VNA office has been open for 20 years. VNA is a not-for-profit organization, and the Brevard office has primarily been focused on home health, with private care debuting in the spring.

What is Private Care?

Well, private care is based out of your home and can be anything you need. A caregiver can come and help you bathe, help carry groceries into the house, or even sit with you if all you need is companionship. You do not have to be medically homebound to utilize private care – as you would to benefit from home health – meaning, with private care, VNA can stay as long as you need. Because private care is self-paid, clients have flexibility and do not need to a referral to benefit from this program.

And, with VNA’s private care, patients will receive regular visits from a nurse to oversee their care, ensure caregivers are getting everything done and that the patient and the family are happy. This is complimentary to the client.

“We feel very strongly that, when you choose a Visiting Nurse Association, a nurse should see you,” says Jessica Cassone, administrator for the VNA private care. “At the level of licensure we are pursuing, a nurse does not have to go out, so a lot of agencies don’t send a nurse out, or they do and they charge for it.” But this is just one way in which VNA chooses to go above and beyond the industry standard, putting families first.

What Makes VNA Different?

Cassone has worked in both the for-profit and not-for-profit health care industries and cites the biggest difference in not-for-profit being that care is always client-centered and client-first. And with VNA specifically, there are a lot of regulations in place that help the organization stand out from the rest.

“We are always talking about what it means to serve our patients,” says Cassone. “We’re an agency that puts the patient first, and that’s very gratifying.”

“We are currently rated five stars in satisfaction and four stars in quality,” says Ann Culley, executive director of VNA Space Coast.

In regard to the new private care service starting in the spring, VNA is going above and beyond the industry standard to keep patients safe and happy. Because, when you make the decision to leave a loved one home alone with a caregiver, you need to trust that the caregiver can provide safe and proper care.

To ensure this safety, VNA conducts Level 1 and Level 2 background checks on all its employees. The industry standard only requires a Level 2 background check, which is a national check. However, AHCA (Agency for Health Care Administration) has allowed for exemptions to a variety of offenses, meaning, someone with a criminal record could be cleared to come and work in your home.

The Level 1 check is a state check, which allows for VNA to find offenses that have been cleared by AHCA in the Level 2 check. For example, when completing a Level 1 check, VNA saw someone had a domestic violence charge, for which they had been arrested, prosecuted and found guilty. Had VNA just used a Level 2 check, this person would have been cleared and VNA would not have known their history. But with the Level 1 check, VNA made the informed decision not to move forward with the applicant, as VNA felt this applicant was not suited for a caregiver role. Again, this is not the industry norm, but this is the norm for VNA.

“To us, it’s really important to put the right people into our patients’ homes,” says Cassone.

VNA also drug screens all its employees and requires all caregivers in the private care program to receive annual, continued education to sharpen their skills and stay up to date with industry changes. VNA has ensured that the nurses in their private health program are perfectly qualified to take care of you and/or your loved ones.

It can be hard to accept that either you or a loved one can no longer be totally independent; however, VNA helps make the transition safe and easy. For more information, call (321) 522-4868.

Sara Santora
Managing Editor at | Website

As a Space Coast native, Sara enjoys using her love of writing to speak directly to the community that raised her. She graduated from Florida State University with a B.A. in English, and has written for a variety of magazines; however, her love for publishing and writing developed as a young girl, when she received her first copy of Teen Vogue. When she isn't writing or at work, she is traveling around the state with friends, visiting coffee shops, going to live shows and brushing up on her photography skills. Follow her on Instagram or connect with her on LinkedIn.