Virtual Grief Support Available Through Lake Sunapee VNA

Lake Sunapee VNA is now offering two virtual grief support groups, since its in-person support groups are still on hold. To help anyone grieving during this pandemic and time of social distancing, a Virtual Bereavement Check-in is available on Wednesdays every three weeks from 4:00-5:00pm. In addition, a Virtual Widow to Widow group is held on the first Monday of every month from 3:30-5:00pm. Anyone interested in participating in these free groups should email their contact information to Lori O’Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and a member of the bereavement team will call with further details.

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Alyson Santaniello Joins Palliative Care Team

Alyson Santaniello, APRN, AGPCNP-BC, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, has joined the palliative care team at Lake Sunapee VNA, bringing with her 22 years of nursing experience. With a BSN from the University of Rhode Island and an APRN from UMASS Lowell, Santaniello has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology, done research in neuro-oncology, and for the last five years worked at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack, NH.

“The palliative care program at Lake Sunapee VNA is unique to our region of New Hampshire because we are providing palliative care to people in their homes,” says Jen Taylor, APRN, Hospice and Palliative Care Program Director. “We are providing access to in-home visits from trained palliative care providers, who usually work in inpatient or clinic settings at large hospitals. It is rewarding to bring a knowledgeable, experienced and compassionate team directly into the homes of our rural community.”

Palliative care is specialty medical care that focuses on providing an extra layer of support to those facing serious illness (e.g., cancer, kidney disease, lung disease, Alzheimer’s, ALS), especially if they are experiencing a decline in health and/or frequent trips to the hospital. It helps people better understand and navigate their illness with an emphasis on personal goals and symptom management. Palliative care does not replace primary care or any other treatment the person may be receiving. It can be utilized as a stand-alone service or work with other treatments and services to improve quality of life.

Santaniello joins Lori Richer, MD, Board Certified Palliative Care Physician, in providing this service at Lake Sunapee VNA. “I am so excited to be a part of Lake Sunapee VNA’s developing palliative care program,” says Santaniello. “I am looking forward to teaching providers, patients and families more about this medical specialty and how it can be beneficial to those facing a serious illness. I find it meaningful and important to be able to walk this journey with my patients and their families, while providing them with a good quality of life.”

For more information, call Lake Sunapee VNA at 603-526-4077.

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Remote Lunches a Delicious Partnership

With an ongoing commitment to find new ways to acknowledge its dedicated staff for their hard work at this challenging time and always, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) offered “Grab & Go” remote lunches this summer at several locations throughout the agency’s 32-town service area. The goal was to thank employees with a special treat and make it as easy as possible for them to participate. Staff ordered a complimentary lunch paid for by LSRVNA and then arrived at the designated location to drive through and pick up their order, masks on for safety!

“We were happy to support and sincerely thank the restaurants from which we purchased food for going the extra mile to help us out,” says Cathy Raymond, Development Officer at LSRVNA. “We also appreciate the parking lot locations donated for our use for staff to “grab” their lunches. It truly was a delicious partnership!”

Restaurants and “grab” locations included Ramunto’s Restaurant in Claremont (distributed at City of Claremont/Monadnock Park), Camden Brook Market & Café in Newport (distributed at their business parking lot), Blackwater Diner in Andover (distributed at The Refinery parking lot), Fenton’s Landing in Sunapee (distributed at SAU 85/Sherburne Gym parking lot), The Fort in Lebanon (distributed at Lebanon Elks Club parking lot), and Tucker’s in New London (distributed at LSRVNA).

For information about Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, call 603-526-4077 or visit lakesunapeevna.org.

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Lake Sunapee VNA Foot and Flu Clinic Update

Many community members have come to rely on Lake Sunapee VNA for its regular Foot Care Clinics and annual Flu Clinics held throughout the area. Though the pandemic has created challenges to operating these clinics, things are looking up.

Foot Clinics, all of which were closed down in March, are slowly beginning to re-open with appointments now available at COA Chapin Senior Center (call 526-6368) and Claremont Senior Center (call 526-4077). “Many of the other senior centers and community buildings where we provide clinics haven’t opened back up yet, so as they re-open, we’ll continue to do more foot care as long as it can be provided in a safe environment for both our clients and staff,” says Jim Culhane, President & CEO.

Lake Sunapee VNA does plan to offer Flu Clinics this year, but there will be fewer than usual, and they may look quite different. “We are working hard to identify locations that will provide a good, safe flow for people and possibly even drive-thru service,” says Culhane. “We anticipate starting the Flu Clinics in late September this year and will publicize the dates and locations as soon as our plans are finalized.”

For current clinic dates and information, visit lakesunapeevna.org/calendar.

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Colby-Sawyer College Honors LSRVNA with Community Award

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice is proud to be the recipient of this wonderful honor…the Colby-Sawyer College 2020 Community Award. Following is the college’s press release announcing their selection.

Colby-Sawyer College is pleased to announce that Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) has been selected to receive the 2020 Community Award in recognition of its many contributions, and commitment, to the college.

The Community Award, formerly the Town Award, is presented annually to an area resident or organization who has demonstrated extraordinary involvement in, and made noteworthy contributions to, Colby-Sawyer. Through nearly all of its 50 years of service to the greater New London community, LSRVNA has opened its doors to hundreds of Colby-Sawyer students, and inspired many to pursue careers in home care, hospice or palliative settings.

“It is especially meaningful to receive the Community Award in 2020 because this year marks the 50th anniversary of Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice,” LSRVNA President and CEO Jim Culhane said. “Our entire team has been reflecting on this milestone and is reminded that our strength today would not be possible without strong partnerships like the one we enjoy with Colby-Sawyer College. We are honored to receive this award and are grateful for the college’s impact in so many ways.”

Since 1970, LSRVNA has provided healthcare and hospice services to individuals and families in the greater Lake Sunapee Region, in both home and community settings. During that time, LSRVNA has been a consistent source of opportunity for the college’s health science students, whether through internships or by providing mentors for Capstone projects centered around public health.

LSRVNA has continually guaranteed employment to students pursing degrees in nursing, primarily as licensed nursing assistants (LNAs), and often hires graduates of Colby-Sawyer’s nursing program as registered nurses. Through the years, LSRVNA has held health fairs, immunization screenings and preventative screenings at the college, as well as its annual “Women Who Have Made a Difference Luncheon.” Staff have also served as guest speakers in classes and special events, and taught courses as part of the college’s Adventures in Learning program.

“Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice has been a generous partner of the college, providing important experiences for students interested in home healthcare and hospice work,” Colby-Sawyer President Susan D. Stuebner said. “We are so very fortune to have had them in our region for the past 50 years, and we thank them for their support of our students, and for all they do for the region.”

This year’s award was scheduled to be presented to LSRVNA leadership May 27 during the college’s annual President’s Community Forum. The forum was canceled as a result of COVID-19, however, and plans are in the works to present the award this fall.

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Lake Sunapee VNA Responding to COVID-19 Challenges

Update 11/4/2020 - Grief Support Group Update:

Lake Sunapee VNA is now offering two virtual grief support groups, since its in-person support groups are still on hold. To help anyone grieving during this pandemic and time of social distancing, a Virtual Bereavement Check-in is available on Wednesdays every three weeks from 4:00-5:00pm. In addition, a Virtual Widow to Widow group is held on the first Monday of every month from 3:30-5:00pm. Anyone interested in participating in these free groups should email their contact information to Lori O’Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and a member of the bereavement team will call with further details.

Update 8/19/2020 - Foot and Flu Clinic Update:

Many community members have come to rely on Lake Sunapee VNA for its regular Foot Care Clinics and annual Flu Clinics held throughout the area. Though the pandemic has created challenges to operating these clinics, things are looking up.

Foot Clinics, all of which were closed down in March, are slowly beginning to re-open with appointments now available at COA Chapin Senior Center (call 526-6368) and Claremont Senior Center (call 526-4077). “Many of the other senior centers and community buildings where we provide clinics haven’t opened back up yet, so as they re-open, we’ll continue to do more foot care as long as it can be provided in a safe environment for both our clients and staff,” says Jim Culhane, President & CEO.

Lake Sunapee VNA does plan to offer Flu Clinics this year, but there will be fewer than usual, and they may look quite different. “We are working hard to identify locations that will provide a good, safe flow for people and possibly even drive-thru service,” says Culhane. “We anticipate starting the Flu Clinics in late September this year and will publicize the dates and locations as soon as our plans are finalized.”

For current clinic dates and information, visit lakesunapeevna.org/calendar.

Update 6/8/2020 - Shoppe Re-opens with Safety in Mind:

Effective June 2, 2020, The Renaissance Shoppe has re-opened with strict adherence to CDC and State of NH guidelines. At this time, we require face masks and social distancing to help keep our customers, staff and volunteers as safe as possible from the impact of COVID-19. You will see many other safety protocols in place as you browse through our shop. As a health care organization, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice is committed to the health and wellbeing of our community and appreciates your cooperation as we re-open The Renaissance Shoppe in a safe and conscientious manner. Thank you for your continued support!

Update 4/10/2020 - Important News for Supporters of LSRVNA:

On March 27, 2020 President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) covering a number of areas, including tax benefits related to charitable giving. Prior to the coronavirus crisis, taxpayers who claimed the standard deduction generally did not get a tax benefit related to charitable contributions made during the tax year due to a law passed in 2018 that capped the state, local and property tax deduction at $10,000. If you did not reach the threshold to itemize, you would not be able to deduct charitable gifts. The CARES Act changes this by allowing taxpayers who do not itemize to deduct up to $300 of cash contributions to public charities with an above-the-line deduction in tax years beginning in 2020. Taxpayers can claim the deduction and do not need to go through the process of itemizing. This change under the CARES Act relates only to cash contributions; gifts of real estate, stock and other tangible property do not qualify. This is positive news for vital nonprofit organizations that rely on philanthropy to sustain the programs and services that impact so many and make all our communities stronger and healthier. If you have questions about supporting our COVID-19 Fund or other programs of Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, please contact Cathy Raymond, Development Officer, at 603-526-4077 x231 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Update 3/26/2020 - 2020 Women Who Make A Difference Luncheon Cancelled:

Out of care for the community and with an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice has cancelled the 2020 Women Who Make A Difference Luncheon, originally scheduled for May 13. Lake Sunapee VNA thanks all those who have supported the luncheon and looks forward to welcoming you back in 2021. If you would like to learn more about how to support Lake Sunapee VNA at this time, please contact Cathy Raymond at 603-526-4077 x231 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Posted 3/20/2020 - LSRVNA Responding to COVID-19 Challenges:

Like so many other community organizations, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) is working hard to meet the daily challenges of COVID-19 throughout the 32 towns it serves. On any given day under normal circumstances, LSRVNA has an average of 625 people on service receiving home health, hospice, palliative and private care, and the agency is adapting every day to meet the needs of those patients—as well as its staff—safely and effectively. Following are some of the ways in which the agency is responding:

  • Monitoring the rapidly changing daily flow of information and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services regarding personal protective equipment, testing, screening protocols, etc.

  • Limiting exposure among its 200 staff members by having the majority of office staff work from home and reducing the need for field staff to go to the office by holding virtual team meetings and calling ahead for medical supplies. According to Jim Culhane, President & CEO, “Home health care is by design a very mobile and adaptable business, which gives us at least a small advantage in meeting the challenges of COVID-19.”

  • Closing all non-essential services for the safety of everyone involved and to focus on essential patient care services. Non-essential services that have been closed at least through the end of April include blood pressure clinics, foot care clinics, support groups, education programs, Good Day Respite, and The Renaissance Shoppe. Culhane shares, “While these are very important services that we provide to the communities we serve, we need to maximize and focus our resources on the programs that are designed to help people with illness and injury, specifically our home care, hospice and palliative care programs. In addition, we will continue to focus on the programs that are the sole service that prevents patients from moving into nursing facilities, such as Medicaid CFI, private duty services and some of our grants.”

  • Screening all patients by phone for COVID-19 symptoms before going into the home and again during each visit.

  • Developing contingency plans to shift resources as hospitals get busier and the demand for home care increases. “Many of our staff have foregone planned vacations and travel in order to minimize personal risk, as well as risk to coworkers and patients, and maximize our availability to meet the growing health care needs of the community,” says Culhane.

  • Educating patients who may be concerned about receiving home visits about CDC guidelines for minimizing risk and various options for care, such as less frequent visits and additional phone calls.

  • Communicating with community partners, such as the Upper Valley and Greater Sullivan County public health networks, area hospitals and other health and human service agencies, to share information and resources. “Many of us work together regularly on emergency preparedness efforts to train and prepare for all types of unexpected events, and those plans and relationships are currently helping all of us to meet this challenge,” says Culhane.

  • Working on supportive measures for staff around pay, childcare and other resources, so they have the ability to see patients while maintaining their own physical and emotional health. Culhane shares, “Our staff is our primary and most precious resource. They are also at the forefront of risk, so addressing their safety and needs, which impact those of patients and the wider community, is a top priority. Rest assured that the agency is looking at every possible way it can support this dedicated, needed team throughout this unprecedented event.”

Culhane continues, “We are an agency made up of individuals who share a common goal and focus, and that is the health and safety of our communities. When all of us made the decision to work in home health, we made the explicit decision to work in public health. We strive for improvements with each individual patient, and collectively, we improve the public health of the towns we serve. We play a significant role in the well-being of many communities. It is this public health obligation that calls us now….to help us navigate this unchartered territory through hard decisions, hard work and perseverance and by doing everything we can to help mitigate risk.”

For more information about the essential services currently being provided by Lake Sunapee VNA, call 603-526-4077.

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Cancellations Due to COVID-19

Effective March 16, 2020, Lake Sunapee VNA has temporarily closed the following programs and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic: blood pressure clinics, foot care clinics, support groups, education programs, Good Day Respite, and The Renaissance Shoppe. In addition, no donations of merchandise to The Renaissance Shoppe will be accepted until further notice.

“This decision was made for the safety of everyone involved and will allow us to focus on our essential patient services during this critical time,” says Jim Culhane, President & CEO. “We will re-evaluate the situation at the end of April and adjust accordingly.”

For information about the essential home care and hospice services provided by Lake Sunapee VNA, call 603-526-4077 or visit LakeSunapeeVNA.org.

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Lake Sunapee VNA Presents Annual Awards

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) presented its annual staff and volunteer excellence awards at its Annual Meeting on February 13.

The staff award, known as the “Imagine the Possibilities Award,” was presented to Linda Mitchell, LNA. Starting as a home health aide and now a licensed nursing assistant, Linda has been making a difference in the lives of clients and their families for more than 20 years. During the presentation, Jim Culhane, LSRVNA President & CEO, shared, “Linda is an amazing, caring, skilled LNA and a bright light wherever she goes. She cares deeply for each person and embodies our core values of community, compassion, empowerment and excellence.”

Annual Meeting 2020 Awards
Linda Mitchell, LNA, receiving the “Imagine the Possibilities Award”

New London resident, Betsy Boege, received the “Joanne Hughes Volunteer Excellence Award.” Betsy has been a stellar volunteer since 2002, supporting Hospice, Good Day Respite and other programs whenever her schedule allows. “Her commitment, enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, willingness to provide valuable feedback and happy smile make her a beloved member of our team,” shared Culhane as he presented the award.

Annual Meeting 2020 Awards
Betsy Boege, Volunteer, receiving the “Joanne Hughes Volunteer Excellence Award”

In addition to the award presentations, Culhane thanked outgoing Board member Dr. Donald Eberly for his many years of service on the LSRVNA Board of Trustees, most recently as Chair, and presented him with an honorary plaque. Also recognized were new Board officers Kieran Kays, Chair, and Daniel Junius, Vice Chair.

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Caitlin Harmon Named Chief Clinical Officer at Lake Sunapee VNA

Caitlin Harmon, RN, BSN, has been named Chief Clinical Officer at Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA).

Caitlin’s nursing career began in home health care after earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of New Hampshire. Since joining LSRVNA in 2010, she has held several positions including RN Case Manager for both home health care and hospice clients, Preceptor for new clinical field staff, and Quality Assurance Director.

As Chief Clinical Officer, Caitlin is responsible for oversight of clinical operations and program processes, including home care, quality assurance, intake, scheduling, medical records and performance improvement. “Caitlin has made substantial contributions to our organization in the ten years she has been with us, and we know that she will provide strong leadership in this new position moving forward,” says Jim Culhane, President & CEO.

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LSRVNA Announces Annual Meeting as it Begins 50th Anniversary Year

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) invites the community to its Annual Meeting to be held on Thursday, February 13, 2020 at 4:00pm at the Wilmot Community Association Red Barn on 64 Village Road in Wilmot, New Hampshire.

The meeting will include highlights of 2019 initiatives and accomplishments, annual staff and volunteer award presentations, and remarks by Dr. Donald Eberly reflecting on the agency’s 50th Anniversary this year. “Founded in 1970, LSRVNA is strong, resilient and committed to remaining an enduring presence in the community for another 50 years! We hope to see you there,” says Jim Culhane, President & CEO.

There is no fee to attend and refreshments will be provided. RSVPs are greatly appreciated by contacting Cathy Raymond at 603-526-4077 x231 or craymond@lakesunapeevna.org.

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