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Founded in 1885, the VNA of Western New York was the first visiting nursing organization in America. Since then, the VNA has become one of the oldest charities in the nation and remains the largest home health agency in the Western New York region.

From humble beginnings in Western New York, the VNA movement migrated across the country.

Today, there are over 500 visiting nurse associations, employing more than 90,000 clinicians, providing health care to more than 4 Million people each year.

VNAs provide a critical safety net in communities, enabling our patients to continue to live independently at home. The VNA has evolved to be and an integral part of the healthcare landscape of our communities.

A rich history.

“In 1885, Elizabeth Coe Marshall, a Sunday school teacher at the First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York, collected funds to hire a nurse to provide free nursing among the sick poor in the City of Buffalo…thus began the practice of nurses traveling to the homes of the sick, recuperating, and disabled Americans.” 
Smithsonian Institute

In 1885, about 75% of America’s 50 million people lived on farms or in rural hamlets. Tuberculosis was the greatest killer of adults. Other common diseases in that period included bronchitis, rheumatism, kidney and circulatory ailments, malaria, syphilis, and small pox. Life expectancy was around 40. Medical science had just discovered that certain bacteria could cause human disease. The hospital system was in its infancy, with less than 700 in the entire country. Physicians were normally generalists who treated the entire family.ElizabethCoeMarshall

Nurses in the area trained at the Buffalo General School of Nursing, which was founded in 1877. They also provided care in people’s homes—for those who could afford to pay for it. Elizabeth Coe Marshall thought that home care should be provided for all, regardless of their ability to pay, and created the vision of a non-profit organization dedicated to that concept. Elizabeth got the idea after she was ill as a result of an accident, and care was provided by a nurse in her home.

Elizabeth approached her church, the First Presbyterian, for some monetary support to get started. Funds left over from a memorial fund set up for the son of the pastor were used to pay for the services of the first visiting nurse. She hired Mary Taylor as the first visiting nurse, fresh from graduation from the Buffalo General School.

Elizabeth Coe Marshall died just a few years later, in 1892, but by that time the VNA of Western New York was firmly established. VNAs in Boston and Philadelphia started on the heels of Elizabeth’s dream, but the visiting nurse movement began in Buffalo, New York.

Over the years, health epidemics, world war, children with disabilities, administration of immunizations, recognition of the needs of seniors… with each passing decade, VNA became a critical resource in providing home care and health services to the communities it grew to serve. Today, the VNA remains the recognized and respected leading in-home care provider at the forefront of innovative skilled health services and compassionate caregiving. 130 years ago VNA was a voice for community health. Today, we are the Face of Care.





VNA is the only in-home care provider that offers public health nurse home visitation and extends care into the community. From school health services to breast cancer treatment assistance, VNA and partnering organizations offer a wide range of community health services designed for individuals as well as the local communities.

VNA has long been relied upon to deliver the services necessary for the wellbeing of our community. And as those needs change over generations, VNA is there.

VNA has long been relied upon to deliver the services necessary for the wellbeing of our community. And as those needs change over generations, VNA is there.


The Visiting Nurse Association has a commitment to all who need us, provides the highest quality and most efficient solutions for keeping people independent, at home and in the community, maximizing their health and quality of life.


The VNA seeks to create a society where everyone has equal access to exceptional health care services and can remain at home and in the community, independently, with dignity and the greatest quality of life.

We work to continuously grow our leadership role in the health care sector. We actively collaborate with our health care partners to provide quality and efficient services to our patients, utilizing evidence-based best practices. We strive to influence public policy to create access to service and demonstrate the value of home care services in the larger health care system, all while remaining true to our mission.

This proud tradition is being carried on right here in our local community by the work of the Guilford, CT VNA Community Healthcare Organization.


vna logo

Beside You at Every Turn

When life takes an unexpected turn, we support our patients with healthcare and homecare assistance for life at home. Helping you deal with those unexpected twists and turns is exactly why VNA Community Healthcare is here, serving Hamden, North Haven and the Connecticut shoreline.

Programs & Events

As part of the Shoreline Community, VNA Community Healthcare offers you valuable resources close to home, including preventive health services, educational programs and support groups. You can meet other people, learn about healthier lifestyle, and talk with licensed medical professionals about your specific health concerns. Click on one of the programs bellow to learn more.


Beside you at every turn.

Featured Events

Taste of Spring Fundraiser, All Towns

05/12/15, 05:30 PM – 08:00 PM

Join VNA Community Healthcare at our 3rd Annual Taste of Spring Fundraiser to help support … [ more ]

Senior Boot Camp, All Towns

05/04/15, 05:30 PM – 06:30 PM

Exercise class in Madison for older adults.  Designed for anyone who should be more active … [ more ]

Antibiotics: Cure and Curse, All Towns

05/05/15, 08:30 AM – 10:30 AM

Join the Campaign!  Antibiotics: Cure and Curse   Presented by The Health Neighborhood* Featuring: Matthew Ellman, MD, Director, Yale … [ more ]


Spring 2015 Calendars

Click here to download PDFs for either our Hamden or Shoreline area event calendars.[more]

Programs for Health Professionals

We offer professional education series with information that you can use immediately.[more]

Family Caregiver Programs

Our programs provide family caregivers with information and strategies to help in caring for an older adult. [more]

Exercise Classes

From Zumba and Yoga to Tai Chi and Aerobic/Strength building classes — we have something for everyone and every level.[more]

Fall Prevention: Screening and Exercise Sessions

Get active and learn how to prevent falls.[more]

Fundraising Events

Our fundraising events enable us continue to offer free and low cost wellness programs, screening and caregiver support. [more]

Ask the Nurse – Health Sessions (Hamden/North Haven Area)

Speak one-on-one with our community nurses: ask questions, set goals and get a health screening. [more]

Ask the Nurse- Health Sessions (Shoreline area)

Speak one-on-one with one of our nurses: ask questions, set goals and have health screenings. [more]

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