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Wednesday, December 17, 2003
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Home health care makes a big difference
By Marisa Palmieri

United Appeal for Athens CountyThis is the final story in a series of four featuring member agencies of United Appeal for Athens County. United Appeal is a collaborative fund-raising agency made up of 13 social and health service agencies located in Athens County.

The Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association, Hospice & Health Services (ACVNAH&HS) understands best what Dorothy says in "The Wizard of Oz": "There's no place like home." It perfectly demonstrates this year's United Appeal for Athens County campaign theme, "Do Something Big," the understanding that a small gift can translate into something much more meaningful. For this agency's patients, something as small as allowing them to regain health in their own homes can mean a lot more than perceived, it can mean something big.

"[ACVNAH&HS] services a crucial niche in our community," says Pam Harvey, director of United Appeal. "They do it regardless of folks' income, and that's where United Appeal comes in."

ACVNA logoAs a unified group, this agency administers and array of services from nursing to physical therapy to social work. Its professional staff includes registered nurses, therapists, social workers, home health aides and volunteers.

United Appeal helps to support both the visiting nurse association and the hospice services. The visiting nurse association provides a full range of curative and rehabilitative health services that can include nursing; physical, occupational and speech therapies; social services and home care aides. The hospice provides medical staff as well as social workers and clergy to give care and bereavement support to the terminally ill and their families.

This agency covers a seven-county area; however, all funds acquired through United Appeal will be used only in Athens County, according to Milena Miller, director of development and marketing for ACVNAH&HS. United Appeal donors may indicate whether they want to give to the visiting nurse association or to the hospice.

"The people that are directly affected [by United Appeal donations] are often the people that have no insurance or do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare," Miller says.

United Appeal funds also allow ACVNAH&HS to keep up with the competition in terms of paying their staff's insurance during a nursing shortage where hospitals offer tempting contract bonuses. "It enables us to continue to have good staff who provide quality services for everyone in the community," Miller says.

"We are always looking for more [volunteers], right now we are desperate," she says. For more information or to get involved, contact the Appalachian Community Visiting Nurses Association, Hospice & Health Services at (740) 594-8226.

To donate to United Appeal contact Nancy Crist at 593-1804 or crist@ohio.edu or contact United Appeal directly at 592-1293.

Marisa Palmieri is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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