Hospice Volunteer Program Returns

The time has come! After over a year of the program being on hold, we are excited to announce the relaunching of our Hospice Volunteer Program. Our Hospice Volunteers have served a vital role on our Hospice interdisciplinary team. They have a deep desire to give comfort, peace, and care to our patients. They do this purely out of the goodness of their hearts and their own free time. Volunteers have a significant impact on the lives of our patients, often connecting with them on a deep and personal level. This relationship benefits the patient and their loved ones, as well as the interdisciplinary team. Not only do they provide the team with particular insight into our patients’ lives, but through the volunteers' interactions, they are helping our organization maintain a high level of excellence in patient care. For more information about our volunteer programs, contact Elizabeth Gantner, Volunteer Manager, at 603-748-2225.

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Three Grief Support Groups Available to Community

Lake Sunapee VNA now offers three virtual grief support groups for the community.

The “Newly Bereaved Widows Group” is for women who have experienced the loss of their husband within the last year and is held on the third Thursday of every month from 10:00-11:00am. The “Widow to Widow Group” is for women in all stages of grief and meets on the first Monday of every month from 3:30-5:00pm. Newly bereaved widows are welcome at this group as well, especially if they are feeling the need for more frequent support. In addition, a “Bereavement Check-in” group is available for men and women on the third Wednesday of every month from 4:00-5:00pm.

All of these groups provide an opportunity for participants to come together in a safe place of compassion and confidentiality. Attend once, multiple times or as needed. If interested, email your contact information to loconnor@lakesunapeevna.org and a member of the Lake Sunapee VNA bereavement team will call you with further details.

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Lake Sunapee VNA Announces 2021 Board of Trustees

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) approved its 2021 Board of Trustees at its Annual Meeting on March 3. During the meeting, Kieran Kays, Board Chair, welcomed two new trustees—Elizabeth Falicon, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, and Christopher Martin. Falicon is the Owner and a Nurse Practitioner at Life Long Care of New London. Martin is the Owner and Administrator at Woodlawn Care Center in Newport.

“We’re very excited to have Liz and Chris join the Board,” says Jim Culhane, LSRVNA President and CEO. “Liz’s experience in primary care and Chris’ experience in long-term care bring necessary perspectives to the Board that will help guide the organization through current and future complexities of health care in our region. In conjunction with Kieran’s thoughtful leadership and that of our entire Board, we’re positioned for continued success in achieving our mission to help keep people in their homes.”

The 2021 Board also includes: Daniel Junius (Vice Chair); Neil Shifrin, PhD (Treasurer); George “Bo” Quackenbos (Secretary); Sheldon Boege; Ann Dewey; Donald Eberly, MD (CHS Board); Shari Goldberg, RN, PhD; Maynard Goldman; Beverley Rankin, RN, BSN; Linda Scofield; Deanna Wilson; and Michael Wood, Esq.

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Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Presents Gift to Lake Sunapee VNA

Bar Harbor Bank & Trust recently presented donations totaling nearly $12,000 to seven Northern New England nonprofit organizations from its employee-driven charitable giving program, Casual for a Cause. The recipients of the contributions collected in Q4 2020 are: BROC Community Action, Capstone Community Action, Friends in Action, Island Connections, Knox County Homeless Coalition, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, and Tedford Housing.

“These nonprofit organizations provide much-needed services to our communities, and the employees of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust are honored to be able to assist them with their efforts,” said Jack Frost, VP Director of Community Giving at Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

Casual for a Cause gives Bank employees the opportunity to dress casually on Fridays in exchange for a bi-weekly payroll deduction made to a pool of funds collected during each quarter. The employees then vote on the nonprofits to receive their contributions. Employees have donated more than $100,000 to more than 50 organizations across Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont since the program launched in 2018.

“We are very grateful for the strong and continued support of Bar Harbor Bank &Trust as Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice remains committed to enhancing quality of life for so many people in the regions both our organizations serve,” said Cathy Raymond, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice Development Officer. “Our team of nearly 200 staff travel to every corner of a large service area, making a difference every day. It really does empower them to keep up their good and often challenging work knowing that organizations like yours have our back and believe in what we do.”

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New London Rotary Club Donates Surgical Masks

The New London Rotary Club has donated 1000 surgical masks to Lake Sunapee VNA for the second time since the pandemic began. The masks were made available through the Rotary Million Mask Initiative and the Rossi Foundation and distributed locally by members of the New London Rotary Club, including club president Katie Blake and club member Lou Botta. Jeana Newbern, Marketing and Community Outreach Manager, accepted the masks on behalf of Lake Sunapee VNA stating, “We are so thankful to the Rotary Club for supporting us in this way, and we will put every mask to good use.”

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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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