Life’s Journey

Life's Journey

A campaign in support of palliative and hospice care.

To make a donation. Click on the button below to download a form.

Ron Cioffi, RN

Chief Executive Officer

You and I are fellow travelers in this journey called life.

All throughout our lives, we have choices, where we go to school, who we choose to love, where we live and what interests give us joy and spark our imagination.

These journeys can be filled with joy, heartache, and celebration. And while we plan and anticipate much of our life’s travels – there’s one that all of us think of as far on the horizon – that is, the end of life.
Before you or a loved one is facing a terminal diagnosis, choose to make the most of your time and plan how you want to live before you die.

At the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region, we are redefining palliative and end-of-life hospice care. Through dedication, compassion and clinical excellence, our multidisciplinary team of professionals assists, guide and support terminally ill patients as they make the most of each day with dignity and comfort.

So, fellow travelers, we are at a crossroads in enhancing the hospice and palliative care services we provide. The demand for services is growing at a rapid rate and in order to meet the need, we need to expand our current facilities and build a fund to support the special needs of our patients and their families.

Please join us in this important initiative. Here’s the plan: Our building expansion will help us provide needed space for staff training, education, and collaboration and will feature additional spaces for bereavement support, a resource library, and meeting rooms. Your support is critical and every gift makes a difference.

Join me on this journey!

Ron Cioffi, RN
Chief Executive Officer

Why?

Because we believe that everyone facing a terminal illness should live their life’s journey to the fullest.

Our journey to raise critical funds for our hospice program started with a single step back in 1996 as the then, Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association, merged with a local, volunteer-driven hospice program.

Every journey starts with a vision, and we had a vision to help more seriously ill and terminally ill patients live each moment to the fullest and die on their terms.

Since that humble beginning, while the number of patients we served was small, our hospice team has been filled with compassionate professionals guiding patients and their families through an unfamiliar journey. Back then, our communities were unfamiliar with hospice and thought of it as a place rather than as a patient-focused philosophy of care.

Now, 22 years later, we serve hundreds of patients each year and our communities know and understand that we provide the highest quality care to our patients and their families while honoring human dignity and personal choice.

Our hospice team strives to treat the whole person–meeting physical, social and spiritual needs. The relationships we build with our patients provide comfort and support while dealing with complex and difficult issues, and yet, along the way finding
joy in each day.

We don’t hasten death or prolong life; we simply give our patients the power to live life, until the very end, as they choose.

The Future Beckons

While we continue to be proud of the unparalleled end-of-life care we have provided our communities we are prepared for what’s next.

Our future beckons and the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region is well-positioned to proactively embrace continued growth amid an ever-shifting healthcare environment

Increased scrutiny and regulation of hospices along with expected cuts in Medicare reimbursement will present financial challenges. Yet our vision remains steadfast – we want to help more patients and their families.

A planned expansion of our hospice headquarters will help us do that.

With support from our generous donors, we will secure our position as the area’s leading resource for end-of-life care and impact the lives of hundreds in the communities we serve.

Beyond Bricks and Mortar

The expansion of our building is beyond bricks and mortar — this expansion is changing the way we think and feel about end-of-life care in our community.

Our growth plan represents feedback from our Hospice team and includes a family-centered bereavement space, an expanded area for training, collaboration and learning, and more room for interdisciplinary team meetings that are a vital part of hospice care.


Nicole Moran

Director, Palliative Care & Hospice Services

"Caring for patients and families along the entire continuum of care — from assisting with advance care planning through addressing grief — provides the greatest opportunity to secure our position as the area's leading resource for end-of-life-care."

Nicole Moran, MSN, BA, RN
Director of Palliative Care
& Hospice Services

The aging of Vermont is the biggest problem our state faces, and it will be for the future.

Vermont continues to age and age faster than the nation as a whole. The latest Census Bureau numbers report that Vermont’s median age rose to 42.8 in 2015. While Vermont’s median age was the same as the nations in 1990, today it’s one of the oldest states in the nation—even older than Florida, which has a median age of 41.9. We are tied with New Hampshire and older than the rest of the New England states.

While our population continues to age, how we treat those facing life-limiting illnesses truly matters. As our population grows older, more and more will face chronic debilitating and progressive illnesses.
Hospice will continue to prove itself as a healthcare model that not only scores high in patient and family satisfaction but also in cost-effectiveness. Nationally, hospice programs have experienced tremendous growth with a single program in 1974 to more than 5,800 nationwide today.

As a matter of fact, this growth in aging is reflected in the growth of individuals using hospice services locally. The number of patients using hospice has more than doubled since 2008.

To meet this growing need, we need to expand our existing headquarters space.

A core element of hospice care is the collaborative practice of the interdisciplinary team. Hospice and palliative care teams are comprised of nurses, social workers, chaplains, volunteers, and can also include home health aides, bereavement counselors. This model of care is essential for the care of patients and support of their loved ones.

Expansion of our headquarters will allow for an increase in space to provide staff training, education, and collaboration. Our service area has grown to include 37 towns in Bennington and Rutland Counties.

Enhanced meeting space will allow our hospice teams to meet both virtually and in-person. Our meeting spaces will be equipped with communication equipment that will enable interdisciplinary teams to meet, regardless of their home-office location.

VNAHSR Growth in Hospice Patient Visits

From Grieving to Healing

At the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region, our care doesn’t end after a patient dies.

The grieving process is just that—a process. It takes time to heal after a loved one passes away. We are proud to offer one-on-one grief counseling and bereavement support groups for family members of our hospice patients.

This expansion will allow us to create a special space for these critical support programs that help families create a network of support that helps them come to terms with a death and retain the connection to a loved one that has passed on.

Adding much-needed space will allow us to expand our resource library and meeting space for our volunteer training and support.

Andrew Carlson, caregivers
Andrew Carlson, Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator

We estimate the cost of this expansion project to be $850,000.

We need you with us on this journey.

Architectural rendering of building expansion

The need for enhanced hospice services in our communities has never been higher.

The demand for services will continue to grow. But, beyond the need are the individuals who need the hope that hospice provides, the hope for relief from pain and troubling symptoms, hope for quality time with the people who are most dear, and the promise that loved ones will be supported throughout their journey.

Your support is what allows this to happen.

We invite you to be a part of our journey. We are energized by the opportunities this expansion will make possible. By joining us on our journey, you can help us achieve our goal of expanding capacity and help meet the growing need.

Join us in honoring our fellow travelers on life’s journey. You can make gifts of cash or pledge your gift over as many as three years. We have a variety of naming opportunities for this project and all gifts of $1,000 or more will be listed on a plaque in the expanded facility.

Treasuring the
Journey of Life

It is my privilege to serve as Medical Director of the Hospice Program at the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region (VNAHSR).

Over the years, the many experiences I have had with patients facing serious health concerns nurtured in me a strong desire to help people figure out what they want the end of their life to look like and how they will live to the fullest in the time they have, while they let go. This is why I was drawn to serve as Medical Director and why I am grateful to direct the amazing Hospice Team at the VNAHSR.

Last year, more than 670 patients made the decision to improve their end-of-life experience by turning to us. Thanks to the generous support of donors like you who support our mission we continue to provide exceptional Hospice care to all who need it.

The work of the Hospice program has left a lasting impression on my life and my life’s work. I invite you to join me in supporting this very important campaign.

Allan Eisemann, MD, Medical Director, VNAHSR

FAST FACTS

Life's Journey Campaign

Expansion details

3,000 Square feet

Space expansion for staff training, education and collaboration

Enhanced technology to allow our hospice teams to meet both virtually and in-person

Special room for Bereavement Support Group and Counseling

Expanded resource library and meeting space for our volunteer training and support

Our care focuses on quality of life

We are YOUR Guides

At the VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region, we are compassionate people providing compassionate care. We are guided by the highest ethical principles, while expertly caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families facing an incurable illness.
We are here to help our patients get the most out of every day of life while surrounding them and their families with love and comfort.

Our Team

Our team provides individualized care to patients and families, providing education and support on this journey and are available by phone 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Primary Physician

Manages the patient’s care with the hospice team.

Hospice Medical Director

Coordinates care and works closely with the Hospice Team to provide care and manage symptoms.

Social Worker

Provides emotional support and counseling; connecting families to community resources as needed. Can assist with advance directives, such as a living will.

Nurse Case Manager

Coordinates care with the physician and the hospice team. Ensures the patient is as comfortable as possible through pain and symptom management. Teaches patients and caregivers.

Licensed Nursing Assistants

Provides personal care, such as bathing or shaving.

Chaplain

Offers non-denominational spiritual support. Assists with funeral arrangements if requested.

Patient and Caregiver

Leads the team and provides day-to-day care with the support of the Hospice Team at the VNAHSR.

Trained Volunteer

Provides a variety of services, such as patient companionship and respite.

Bereavement Counselor

Keeps in touch with the family for up to 13 months, offering individual and group grief support.

As a non-profit organization, we are honored to be your trusted partner in making important decisions together.

Services

Our skilled services range from skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to palliative care and end-of-life hospice care.

Palliative Care

Guidance and comfort for anyone suffering a serious illness

Palliative care is available for anyone suffering at any stage of a serious illness. Palliative care is available to a patient at any stage of an illness, not just the last six months.

Relieving a patient’s pain and providing comfort often tops the priority list. Our palliative care team works with a patient’s physicians to search for better
options to manage pain while getting the most out of life. Patients continue to receive whatever offered curative care they choose, including dialysis,
chemotherapy or radiation.

With a focus on enhancing the quality of life, our team helps patients identify their goals for care, understand treatment options and make decisions
that support their values and beliefs.

Our expertise in palliative care can reduce a patient’s emergency room visits and hospitalizations and lessen disease symptoms such as pain, nausea,
weight loss and fatigue; also eases the stress of emotional and spiritual concerns that many patients face.

Hospice Care

Everyone deserves quality of life at every age and in every circumstance, including those special last days or months of one’s life. The hospice  program brings dignity and calm to patients who want to continue to live their life to the fullest throughout their journey.

Our team of physicians, nurses, home care aides, counselors, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers offers support and care that enable a patient to live as normal a life as possible, pain-free and on their own terms.

The Hospice Team is more like an extended family than a medical staff. They bring skill and sensitivity in meeting physical, spiritual and emotional needs of patients and include the whole family in their compassionate support.

Contributors to the Life’s Journey Campaign are invited to dedicate their gifts in honor and/or remembrance of loved ones, or as a personal tribute to their own legacy.
If you have questions about a naming opportunity, please call Christine Hoard at 802.362.1255

Commemorative
Giving Opportunities

Building Addition
Reserved
Board Room
$50,000
Bereavement Support Room
$50,000
Staff Kitchen
$35,000
Hospice Staff Room
$25,000
Office (2 available)
$15,000
Meeting Space
$25,000

In addition to the above commemorative giving opportunities, a donor recognition area will be located in the new addition. Our appreciation for the generous supporters of this campaign will be prominently displayed. The minimum gift amount set for the recognition area is $1,000.

The Story of

THE DRAGONFLY

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would
never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top.

When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead.

He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news.

Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

–Author Unknown

Life's Journey Campaign

Campaign Chair

William H. Bannerman
1st Vice President Board of Directors

Campaign Team

Carrie Allen
President Board of Directors

Dan DiBattista
2nd Vice President Board of Directors

Tom Dowling
Treasurer, Board of Directors

Domenic Serino
Campaign Counsel

Staff Support

Ronald J. Cioffi, RN
Executive Director

Sara C. King
CFO/COO

Christine Hoard
Director of Philanthropy

Nicole Moran, MSN, BA, RN
Director of Palliative Care & Hospice Services

Bernadette C. Robin
Director of Marketing

To learn more about hospice and palliative care
vermontvisitingnurses.org

VNA & Hospice of the Southwest Region is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and serves all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender.