by Emily Micucci
VNA Care Network & Hospice has been awarded a $75,000 grant from The Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts to train more nurses to provide home health care in the region.
Supporting Worcester-based VNA with the grant will help address a "significant shortage" of home health nurses in Central Massachusetts, according to a statement by VNA.
A number of factors are driving increased demand for home-based health services, according to VNA President and CEO Mary Ann O'Connor.
"The growing elderly population, shorter hospital stays, efforts to reduce re-hospitalizations, elements of health care reform related to quality and cost, and new models of care...have hospitals, physicians and others in medical community turning to home health care," O'Connor said in a statement.
Through the grant, registered VNA nurses will be able to complete a nurse preceptor training program to learn how to mentor new home health care nurses, according to VNA. The program is expected to cut training time for home health nurses in half, from an average of 12 months to about six.