Community VNA provides services and resources that enhance the community’s capacity to achieve optimal health, wellness and quality of life.
Adopted by Board of Directors on June 26, 2001, amended 2004
Overview of our organization
Community VNA is the lead agency in a family of non-profit agencies and programs whose common mission is to provide services and resources that enhance the community’s capacity to achieve optimal health, wellness and quality of life.
Community VNA’s family of programs include:
Community VNA (Community Visiting Nurse Agency)- home care and hospice care;
Community VNA Hospice Care – end of life care for individuals facing any life limiting illness and support for their loved ones;
Community VNA Private Care – in-home nursing and supportive care services;
Mansfield Adult Day Health Center, Mansfield - day time care and support for frail elders and disabled adults;
Norfolk Adult Day Health Center, Norwood -day time care and support for frail elders and disabled adults;
Community VNA Public Health Nursing serving area town boards of health;
Community wellness programs include community and professional education presentations, worksite flu clinics, Alzheimer’s Disease Assistance Program and Elder Dental Program.
Area Communities served:
Home, Hospice and Private Care:
Attleboro, North Attleboro, South Attleboro, Mansfield, Plainville, Foxboro, Wrentham, Franklin, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Norton, Easton.
Mansfield and Norfolk Adult Day Health Centers:
Attleboro, Canton, Dedham, Easton, Foxboro, Franklin, North Attleboro, Mansfield, Medfield, Millis, Needham, Norfolk, Norton, Norwood, Plainville, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, Westwood and Wrentham.
In 1911, Attleboro community leaders were concerned about public health in the face of threatening communicable diseases and raised funds to establish the Attleboro Anti-tuberculosis Society. They recruited a trained nurse from Providence and created a “district nursing service” (home visiting nurse) to serve the community’s most vulnerable members, including the elderly, the disabled and the growing number of low wage workers and their families who increasingly were drawn to Attleboro’s early manufacturing enterprises.
The Anti-Tuberculosis Society, which is known today as Community VNA, became the first organized healthcare agency in Attleboro, pre-dating the local community hospital, Sturdy Memorial, by two years.
The district nursing agency grew and flourished over the decades. In the 1960s and 70s, in order to meet expanded and more rigorous requirements under newly enacted Medicare legislation, many of the area towns merged their town visiting nurse services into Attleboro’s larger Community VNA to create the region-wide, non-profit home health and hospice agency we know today.
In 1983, Hospice Care was formally established as part of Community VNA to provide skilled and compassionate end of life care to those in need.
In 1984, a non-profit sister agency, HealthCare Options was created to provide other types of community-based health services and care. Today this includes private-duty care, health and wellness education and promotion, public health nursing, worksite flu clinics, and adult day health care programs located in Norwood and Mansfield.
In 1984 a non-profit parent organization, Community Health Systems, was established to coordinate and oversee the two non-profit subsidiaries, Community VNA and HealthCare Options.
Most recent Annual Report
Click here to download our 2009 Annual Report
Board /Senior staff list
Board of Directors
Paul P. Danesi, Jr.,President
Kathryn A. Hickman, Vice President
Gerard R. Lavoie, Treasurer
Jane B. Tetreault, Clerk
William H. Adair, Jr.
Thomas F. Clinton
Theda M. Hornung
K. Linda LeStage
Douglas R. Miller
Edward K. Shanley
Suzanne M. Vargas
Board Member Emeritus
Ruth C. Gower
Kathleen M. Trier
Executive Director and CEO
Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer
Clinical Director and Chief Operating Officer
Human Resources Director
Christine D. Stockley
Community Relations and Development Director
100th anniversary preview
The history of VNAs in America
The history of visiting nurse agencies in America dates back to the 1880s. It followed closely on the heels of the establishment of the nation’s first training schools for nurses in Boston and New York a decade earlier. According to the Smithsonian Institute, in 1885, Elizabeth Coe Marshall, a Sunday school teacher at the First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo,NY, collected funds to hire a nurse to provide free nursing among the sick and poor in Buffalo, thus beginning the American practice of nurses traveling to the homes of the sick, recuperating and disabled.
In Boston, the Visiting Nurse Association was established in 1886 as the Instructive District Nursing Association which hired the first nurse to work with the physicians of the Boston Dispensary.
The same year in Philadelphia, Helen Carnan Jenks established the Visiting Nurse Society of Philadelphia and enlisted the assistance of physicians who gave the fledgling organization needed credibility within the medical community. By the end of the first year, that VNS served over 300 patients.
In New York, Lillian Wald, a social reformer and pioneer in public health nursing, advanced the principle that "Society benefits when healthcare is provided in the least costly and most comforting setting-most often the home." In 1893, she began to care for sick residents of the Lower East Side, and soon decided to devote her life to this cause. She was the founder of the Henry Street Settlement and eventually was able to expand her home nursing work, having 27 nurses helping her by 1906. She authored two books relating to this work; "The House on Henry Street", was published in 1911, followed by "Windows on Henry Street" in 1934. Today, Lillian Wald is widely regarded as the founder of visiting nursing in the U.S. and Canada. In the 1880s, about 75% of America’s 50 million people lived on farms or in rural hamlets but the cities were growing rapidly and were teaming with newly arrived immigrants. Tuberculosis was the greatest killer of adults. Other common infectious diseases suffered in that period included bronchitis, rheumatism, kidney and circulatory ailments, malaria, syphilis and small pox. Life expectancy was around 40 years.
Medical science had just discovered that certain bacteria could cause human disease. The hospital system was in its infancy, with less than 700 hospitals in the entire country. Physicians were normally generalists who treated the entire family.
At the turn of the century, the visiting nurses brought quality health care into the home, provided maternity care, hygienic instruction and prevention education. In the decades to follow, the visiting nurse services grew to be a critically important component of health care and the public health. In the twentith century, Society would experience epidemics of influenza, tuberculosis and poliomyelitis. America’s entry into World War I would sorely tax the existing health care system. In each instance, the visiting nurse services worked to meet the public’s health care needs by providing prevention, treatment and education.
Today, in the US, there are over 700 non-profit visiting nurse associations, employing more than 75,000 clinicians, providing health care to more than 4 million people each year. VNAs continue to provide a critical safety net in communities, enabling their patients to receive the best in care while continuing to live independently at home.