2020 is a milestone year for the VNA of Northwest Indiana, marking 50 years of dedicated service throughout the Region. To celebrate the occasion, they partnered with the Valpo Chamber to host Business After Hours at their newly renovated Hospice Center.
The Hospice Center provides 24-hour care for terminally ill patients in a home-like environment, where families are welcome around the clock. Thanks to community contributions through donations and fundraisers, VNA was able to renovate each patient room with new floors, furniture, and other furnishings. The improved accommodations served as a symbol for the VNA’s renewed commitment to the community.
“This is a big day for us, we’re really excited to welcome the community back into the center so that they can see what their investment has produced,” said Bob Franko, VNA of Northwest Indiana President and CEO. “More importantly, it’s just a chance to reintroduce the VNA to the community and show off the work we’ve been doing.”
As a nonprofit, projects like the renovations are only possible thanks to the immense community support the VNA receives every year.
“The support is really overwhelming and humbling,” Franko said. “One thing we talk about a lot is that this is your VNA, the community’s VNA. We see ourselves as stewards and caretakers of this resource for the community.”
One of the main goals for the renovations was to ensure the rooms are just as comfortable for the visiting families as they are for the patients themselves. The quality accommodations accompanied by the compassionate care ensure a calm stay, and let families spend all the time they need with their loved ones.
“It’s more serene and peaceful, which is what you need when you’re spending these last days, hours, or weeks with your loved one,” said Melanie Marshall, Marketing Director for VNA of Northwest Indiana. “This center is so important to Northwest Indiana, there’s only seven in all of Indiana and we have one of the largest right here in Valpo.”
The compassionate care offered by the VNA inspired many of those touched to become lifelong volunteers. Both of Cristine Steele’s parents stayed at the Hospice Center, and the experience left her a dedicated supporter.
“My parents lived right next door to me, so I was able to do everything they needed right until the end,” Steele said. “My mother came to die here, right in room 113. My father had never experienced anything like it, and when we left here the first day, he looked at me and said ‘She’s ok where she is.’”
Her father, 90 at the time, asked Steele to make sure that he stayed at the Hospice Center when his own time came.
“Five months later, his doctor said it was time – my father said ‘Oh, good,’” Steele said. “It was such a profound experience, and it’s an honor to be here.”
Marshall noted that stories like Steele’s are not uncommon – they are standard thanks to the compassionate, high-quality care the VNA gives to every patient.
“You can go out into the community and talk to just about anybody and find that they’ve been touched by a loved one being at this center,” she said. “Letting the community know that we’re going to be here for another 50 years is wonderful.”
To learn more about the VNA of Northwest Indiana, visit www.vnanwi.org.