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Visiting Nurse Association

Our History

Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association has been providing an impressive range of home and community-based health services since 1922. We're the largest and oldest statewide home health care organization in Delaware. Our commitment to quality services and coordinated, compassionate health care remains strong as we continue to meet the changing needs of our patients both at home and in their communities.

Highlights from our history

1900s

1909: Community health nurses provide home heath care services as part of Association Charities of Wilmington, Del.

1920s

1922: The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Wilmington is formed when Edith S. Danforth, Mary Wright and Josephine Richey sign the first papers of incorporation. The first annual report announces that a staff of 12 public health nurses made 22,117 home visits.

1923: VNA signs a contract with its first health-insurance company to receive reimbursement for home nursing services.

1929: VNA's territory expands to include homebound clients in Hockessin, Yorklyn and North Wilmington toward Silverside Road.

1930s

1931: A staff of 22 VNA nurses makes 45,853 visits over the course of the year.

1932: Reacting to the Great Depression, insurance companies impose limits on VNA visits.

1937: Staffing and pre-Depression salaries are restored in a recovering economy.

1939: A student nurse program is established through VNA's affiliation with the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.

1940s

1941: As doctors join the World War II effort, the VNA of Wilmington increases staff to handle an upsurge in home visits.

1945: Home nursing demand declines as doctors and nurses return home from the war. VNA cuts staff by 50 percent, down to 10 nurses.

1946: The 40-hour work week is adopted and VNA increases staff to 16.  The nurses average nine visits per nurse per day.

1947: Celebrating 25 years of incorporation, VNA introduces a new "orthopaedic service" with the hiring a full-time physical therapist.

1950s

1950: The average cost for a nursing visit is $2.

1952: VNA signs its first contract with the new Department of Public Welfare and agrees to provide services to eligible patients for $2 per visit.

1956: Delaware Hospital contracts with VNA for home nursing services.

1960s

1960: Over the course of the year, the 21 VNA nurses make 30,350 visits. The average cost for a visit is $4.

1964: The Department of Public Welfare approves a fee schedule for VNA services.

1965: VNA grows to 20 employees: 12 full-time nurses, a physical therapist, plus part-time and support staff.

1966: Medicare legislation passes, and VNA is certified as a Medicare provider in Delaware. VNA enters into an agreement with the Department of Public Welfare to train home health aides.

1968: Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware approves home health aide services for its membership.

1970s

1974: A VNA care coordinator is assigned to Wilmington Medical Center, General Division, to ensure continuity of care from hospital to home.

1977: A skilled VNA community health nurse begins a pilot project to administer at-home intravenous chemotherapy to cancer patients.

1980s

1983: VNA serves its first Sussex County patient.

1987: VNA headquarters moves to New Castle, and VNA opens the Evergreen Alzheimer's Day Treatment Program at Emily P. Bissell Hospital with grant support from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Divisions of Public Health and Aging.

1988: VNA of Delaware votes to amend its certificate of incorporation and bylaws to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the MCD Foundation, parent company of the Medical Center of Delaware.

1990s

1992: VNA is recognized by the Delaware Quality Consortium Inc. for stressing quality in business. VNA also wins the distinguished state of Delaware Quality Award of Merit.

1996: The Home Medical Equipment Division opens.

1997: The board votes to change the name of the VNA to Christiana Care Home Health and Community Services Inc. but continues to market services as the Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association.

2000s

2002: VNA begins implementation of telephony, a telephone-based program to document assignment, duration and completion of tasks and home visits, and payroll for home health aides, which interfaces with the system used by the clinical staff.

2004: VNA implements an automated clinical documentation system that allows the health care team to access patient information from laptop computers while in the field.

2005: VNA implements telehealth as part of a telehealth value study sponsored by Honeywell Home Med. Telehealth is an integral of VNA's disease-management programs.

2009: VNA implements the Wound Advisor program, a computer-based wound-management system that incorporates digital photography and remote monitoring by wound-certified nurses.

Today

Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association remains the only locally owned and operated full-service home health care agency in Delaware. More than 800 VNA caregivers make more than 350,000 home visits each year. As we continue to grow, we remain committed to providing the high-quality service associated with our long history as the Visiting Nurse Association.

Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association
New Castle County Office
1 Reads Way, Suite 100
New Castle, DE 19720 directions
302-327-5200
Kent and Sussex County Office
2116 S. Dupont Highway, Suite 2
Camden, DE 19934 directions
302-698-4300 (Kent)
302-855-9700 (Sussex)
Call 888-862-0001 (888-VNA-0001) for more information. We're available 24 hours a day to schedule appointments or provide assistance.
Delaware Health Sciences Alliance CarePages Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing

Christiana Care is a private not-for-profit regional health care system and relies in part on the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations to fulfill its mission. To learn more about how you can support our mission, please visit christianacare.org/donors.

Christiana Care Health System PO Box 1668, Wilmington, DE 19899 800-693-CARE