The cover photo of the spring issue of Housecalls, Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice’s biannual community newsletter, features me with Joe Aldsworth, Deputy Chief of Fire and EMS and Deputy Emergency Management Director for Barre City, with the headline “Celebrating Our Community Partners: How CVHHH Embraced Collaboration to Keep You Safe During the Pandemic.”

Housecalls was distributed with our local newspapers to over 25,000 readers at the end of last month. Inside, there are stories highlighting the ways CVHHH banded with our community partners to serve central Vermonters’ needs over the past 15 months.

I am particularly proud of the collaboration with Joe and Barre City EMS. Joe and I connected when the pandemic hit to discuss opportunities for CVHHH and Barre City EMS to work together to serve homebound central Vermonters, especially individuals receiving services from multiple community-based providers. Joe is a natural at creating alignment across the care continuum, and he and his team care deeply about the individuals whose homes they are called to. As soon as we talked, it was clear we were on the same page. Like me, Joe is an advocate for open communication and collaboration to improve the patient’s experience of care. “It makes sense to have a conversation with all of a person’s providers, including CVHHH,” he said. “This makes a better environment for the patient and creates a better quality of life for them.” Joe is CVHHH’s 2021 Community Partner of the Year. I was so proud to give Joe and his team the certificate of recognition and partnership in April. I look forward to continuing to expand our working relationship and hope to use it as a model for outreach with EMS teams across our service area.

Another collaboration I am excited about is with Norwich University’s School of Nursing. This spring, 18 junior-year nursing students from Norwich were matched with members of CVHHH’s COVID-19 vaccine team and gained direct, on-the-ground experience administering COVID-19 vaccines to homebound central Vermonters. Corey Bennett, MSN, RN, lecturer in Norwich’s School of Nursing and CVHHH Board Member, said this partnership gave students insight into home care nursing, which is beyond the traditional clinical rotation. “It brought to life information that the students learn in lecture and showed them what it means to be a nurse outside of the inpatient hospital setting.” It’s news to no one that we are facing a workforce shortage, especially in the health care sector. This partnership helped future nurses understand CVHHH’s role in community health. Together, our vaccine team, with support from the Norwich students, delivered over 700 COVID-19 vaccines to central Vermonters at home. What an accomplishment!

Last but certainly not least, CVHHH staff, led by our Maternal-Child Health Manager, Katy Leffel, RN, delivered almost 10,000 meals through the Vermont Everyone Eats program to clients and central Vermonters in need. This effort made free, restaurant-prepared meals made with local ingredients available to people negatively impacted by the pandemic. Statewide, the program delivered 1,000,000 meals.

The pandemic created significant hurdles for everyone, and there will no doubt be lasting impacts on our personal and professional lives. As we make collective progress toward life post-pandemic, I will not lose sight of the monumental effort made by CVHHH staff in partnership with our incredible community partners to meet this community’s needs.

Visit www.cvhhh.org/housecalls to view a copy of the spring issue of Housecalls.

Sandy Rousse is Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice CEO.

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