VNAA - Visiting Nurse Associations of America
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Past Topics
Minnesota VNAs Club 100

Michigan Meningitis Shot Parties

Des Moines VNA Scores High with DNA Test
A Bold "Home Care" Solution for those without Homes
VNA of Cape Cod uses their Mobile Health Link Van to encourage wellness in the community
Central Coast VNA & Hospice turns to technology for more efficient home health care
VNA/RI uses Talk Radio to advance their health care mission
IVNA Takes a Different Approach to Flu Vaccination

Agency Spotlight

Minnesota VNAs Club 100

The Minnesota VNA had their hands full this holiday season as they have for the past four years. Their Holiday “Adopt-a-Family” program which begins each November will provide inner-city Minnesotan mothers and their children with the resources they need to foster self-sufficiency and bring hope to their lives.

Adopt-A-Family stems from MVNAs Club 100, run by Community Involvement Director Susan Anderson, a program developed in May 2000 to break the barriers between the “haves” and “have nots.” Susan and the nurses of the agency are dedicated to providing a solution for the every-day needs of high-risk families and vulnerable adults.

Initially, 15 participating families were brought “gifts for living” from MVNA nurses that were donated by the community to improve the quality of life for mothers and their children. Now the club has served over 8,000 clients in the Maternal Child Health Division during the holiday season and year round—providing them with strollers, cribs, high chairs, clothes, bedding and developmental toys and books to sustain a healthy and developmental life.

The volunteers of Club 100 are divided into teams that each work with a Public Health Nurse. The PHN chooses clients who they think would benefit from the program and presents them to the team who then provides resources that can be used to make the lives of mother’s and their children better.

“Because 95 to 98 percent of the families we service live below the poverty level, it was hard for us to chose which of them would receive gifts. But now, it has become more about making a difference and bringing tools to the families that will make life easier. If a mother is given a stroller, she can get her child to an appointment on time and get out of the house more with her baby,” Anderson explains.

With this program, the nursing staff at MVNA has become more effective and produces better outcomes because of the value the program adds to their nursing. The gift of a stroller or toy for an infant increases the trust relationship between the nurse and the client. The result is a better working, one-on-one relationship which usually allows the nurse greater access to the family. When some of the basic needs are met, a client is able to focus on parenting skills and learn about the health needs of their child.*

Before making a promise to the family the team makes sure that they can deliver. They agree to support a particular family, depending on availability of the items which are stocked in the Club 100 storeroom, and make sure there is enough funding to support the need or request.

Initially the program stirred a lot of resistance from the clients about taking gifts from the nurses. They were uncomfortable about telling their story or worried about confidentiality. However with skill and focus dedicated to make a difference, the human touch outweighed their fears and brought hope into their lives.

Each visit is recorded on a result form that documents immediate, short-term and long-term results for a particular family. Progress is tracked on a database to assess and evaluate client needs, follow patient visits before and after the donations and track a client’s commitment to making a healthy life change.

“The progress reports justify our existence to the funders. The outcomes are so good that it allows the nurses to keep going back and donators wanting to always help,” says Anderson. “There’s a lot of grant writing on my part.”

Activity Totals as of:

July 01

July 02

July 03

July 04

Nurses participating (MCH)





Community volunteers





Families we have assisted





Families adopted for the holidays





Total value of items donated





This year a lot of the proceeds for Club 100 came from MVNAs flu shot program and annual event to help cover the infrastructure for the program. Outside of the families, medical equipment and family outreach foundations also donate to the cause, but the community of women who contribute make the biggest difference.

“A lot of the nurses don’t think they can do their job without having the club,” Anderson noted. “We provide a forum for the nurses to tell their story and capture community interest through educating people. Also, the community of women who donate feel more in touch with this part of society and the face of poverty.”

*A recent study done by the Wilder Research Center shows that MVNA is very successful at serving a racially and ethnically diverse population, which includes pregnant and parenting teens and families enrolled in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP). Most of these families have many risk factors and yet, we are finding that of the clients we serve, only 3% of the teens are having rapid repeat pregnancies, 71 % are staying enrolled in school, 91% are having healthy babies and 87% are connected to programs that promote health and well-being. Research literature over the last 30 years indicates that home visiting to provide education and support to expectant parents and families with infants is a successful strategy for improving child and family health outcomes and for preventing child abuse and neglect.

Every month, we will shine the spotlight on a member VNA, and tell you about an innovative program they run. Do you have a story you would like to see in the VNAA “Agency Spotlight”? If so send your suggestions to [email protected].

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