A big happy birthday to the Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast, which turns 48 today! It all began over four decades ago when Indian River County resident Marion Oeschsner saw a need in the community for a home healthcare agency committed to delivering quality care in patients’ homes and organized a group of dedicated volunteers to form a Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). That group of volunteers, now known as VNA’s founders, included Celeta Arden, Helen Brackins, George Kuhn, Ann Marie McCrystal, Pat Moore, Barbara Morrison, Marion Oechsner, Ted Chenault and William Terry. They chose to make the home care agency a Visiting Nurse Association because of the non-profit status VNA agencies hold, and they wanted to set the standard that the organization would serve all those in the community regardless of their financial standing. In 1975, the Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast was fully established and made 80 home visits in its first month of operation. The staff consisted of one nurse director and one home health aide, and together they cared for patients discharged from the hospital requiring home care.
Since its inception, the Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast has grown tremendously and increased its services to include hospice and private caregivers, making it the only local non-profit home care agency to provide a continuum of care for its patients. In 2000, the VNA Hospice House, a 12-bed, state-of-the-art hospice facility was opened in Vero Beach offering 24/7 care for Indian River County residents and families affected by a terminal illness. It also expanded its home healthcare service line into Brevard County. Additionally, for over 30 years the Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast has created many community health and wellness initiatives in Indian River County and offers “health care on wheels” through the VNA Mobile Health Clinic.
The Visiting Nurse Association of the Treasure Coast has become one of the largest employers and healthcare providers in Indian River County. But even with its incredible growth, it has never lost sight of the founders’ vision: a community-minded organization that cares for all.