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Mother’s Success Story Featured in National Newsletter
Every day, VNS of Iowa nurses serve families with remarkable stories. Nurses provide ongoing care to monitor the health and development of their children, but they also provide a major support system for the family, connecting them to resources in the community to help them achieve their goals.
This summer the Nurse Family Partnership’s National Service Office NewsLink featured the story of Lum, a first-time mother and refugee who works with Marcia Allen, a Nurse Home Visitor with the Nurse Family Partnership program at VNS of Iowa.
Lum was just beginning her new life in the United States when she found out she was pregnant. She and her boyfriend Min, both refugees from Burma, would have their first child together. It was another great challenge in their young lives.
Lum had fled Burma out of fear of the militant groups, and had lost her mom to a violent death in Burma. She was thankful to be in the United States, but she now had only her sister and brother as family to turn to in Des Moines as she and Min started their own family.
Then a local healthcare provider referred her to the Nurse-Family Partnership program at Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa. Because Lum spoke little English, Marcia’s first home visit with Lum was done through a Chin-speaking interpreter. Marcia saw a timid and reserved young woman. “We really needed my nurse Marcia,” Lum said. “She could see how I lived – what I needed. When Marcia comes to my home, I feel more comfortable for talking.”
Lum relied on Marcia to help her fill out her Medicaid enrollment forms, decipher mail from state agencies and call her doctor. Lum was lost in a new country without the knowledge of how to access resources. “I had to help her advocate for herself,” Marcia said.
As the home visits with Marcia continued, Lum stopped using the interpreter and practiced her English. She slowly opened up when Marcia asked one special question: what was Lum’s heart’s desire? Lum said she wanted to have her very own hair salon.
Marcia says the Nurse-Family Partnership aims for three main goals for every client: healthy pregnancy and delivery, improved child health and development, and economic self-sufficiency. Lum is achieving all three.
As Bless approaches his second birthday, Lum no longer needs public support from WIC or Medicaid. With her partner Min to do the electrical wiring and her family and Marcia connecting her with resources, Lum has made her dream come true. She is now is the owner of The Amazing Beauty Salon. She even had the self-reliance to develop a business plan and to take out a small business loan. Lum’s salon is attracting customers, and she has hired her first employee.
To read Lum's full story, visit www.nursefamilypartnership.org.
Thank You to Des Moines Intentional Eucharistic Community!
July 1, 2012
VNS of Iowa staff met with members of the Des Moines Intentional Eucharistic Community to provide information about the Storybook Project of Iowa, a program that works directly with incarcerated parents to help them stay connected to their children through reading.
The Storybook Project hosts monthly reading sessions at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville, the Correctional Release Center and the Newton Correctional Facility, where parents select books from the Storybook library, record themselves reading the books, and send the books and recordings home to their children.
The Des Moines Intentional Eucharistic Community collected more than $2,400 in worship service offerings to support Storybook. This gift will enable us to purchase age-appropriate books and facilitate parenting classes to continue this vital program, which is operated entirely from volunteer support, private gifts and in-kind donations of books and supplies. Thank you!
For more information about the Storybook Project, please email Darby Taylor.
VNS of Iowa Addresses High Rate of Uninsured Teens
Child and community health programs at VNS of Iowa, including hawk-i/Medicaid Outreach, Venus Family Planning, and I-Smile™, have teamed up to expand health care education outreach to teens and adolescents in central and eastern Iowa.
Nationwide, about 12% of adolescents under age 17 are uninsured. It is estimated that over 50% of these uninsured teens are actually eligible for Medicaid or hawk-i, but are not enrolled due to lack of education about their eligibility and the need for preventative health care.
Research has shown that teens who are uninsured have at least one unmet health need, and have less access to health care than their peers who are insured.
Outreach efforts will target uninsured teens ages 13 to 19 years old in communities throughout Clinton, Jackson, Jasper, Mahaska, Polk and Poweshiek Counties. VNS of Iowa staff are utilizing social media to reach teens and will seek opportunities to distribute information at school-based events and health fairs, and expand collaboration with school nurses, faith-based youth groups, community health centers and family planning clinics.
As part of the outreach effort, VNS of Iowa will continue to convene the Healthcare Coverage for Kids Coalition (HCKC) on a quarterly basis to strategize and organize outreach plans that target teens. HCKC is a group of outreach workers, school district representatives, social service agencies, hospital systems and faith-based organizations who collaborate to improve health care coverage for vulnerable children and families in Polk County. Additional agencies and organizations that serve teens, as well as teens who would like to participate in an advisory capacity, will be invited to join the coalition.
For more information, HCKC has developed a teen health insurance curriculum What the Health? that will be available on the upcoming HCKC website and Facebook page. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (515) 558-9985.
HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa Join Forces to Become One Organization
December 5, 2011
Des Moines – HCI Care Services, a community care provider serving those with serious illnesses and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa (VNS of Iowa), which has provided healthcare, education and human services to at-risk children, families and adults for more than 100 years, announced today that they will join forces. The unified non-profit, community-based organization will offer a stronger continuum of care, from birth to end of life, with an increased capacity to meet growing and changing community needs.
The decision will benefit both organizations, which share a commitment of enhancing quality of life for vulnerable populations.
“By joining forces to operate as a larger organization, we will be well-positioned for long-term stability and strength in the face of current economic realities and cuts to Medicare reimbursement,” said David Discher, interim president and CEO for VNS of Iowa.
“We’ll also be able to better meet the growing and changing needs of our communities, while being good stewards of community resources to provide cost-effective, quality services,” added Norene Mostkoff, president and CEO of HCI Care Services (formerly Hospice of Central Iowa). In January, Mostkoff will oversee the combined organization.
The new community-based organization will continue to offer the services currently provided by HCI Care Services and VNS of Iowa. Each organization’s employees provide vital care services; their roles remain essential as the organizations become one. The new organization will serve individuals and their families in 39 counties throughout Central, South-Central and Southeast Iowa.
HCI Care Services (formerly Hospice of Central Iowa) and Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa share a long-standing tradition of enhancing quality of life for vulnerable populations. The independent, community-based non-profit organization provides health care, education and human services to at-risk children, families and adults and care for those with life-limiting illnesses in 39 counties. To learn more, please email email@example.com or visit our website: www.hci-vns.org.