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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

Health care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

Is Voice-Activated Tech the Future of Home Care?

August 22, 2017 02:46 PM

Home care nurses and aides participating in a pilot program using voice-activated technology in southern California are finding that the experiment allows them to see more clients, be more responsive to the clients they have, and keep family-members informed of their clients’ latest medical developments.

A home health company with 3000 clients in homes and senior living communities tested an experimental skill of the Amazon Echo – a small voice-activated personal assistant – with five senior clients and their caregivers. The Echo works on voice prompts and can perform a variety of tasks, such as providing the news and weather, order groceries, play music and audio books, and turn lights on or off or dim them.

Using a skill custom-built for the Echo, seniors can verbally call for assistance from a caregiver, report their medical data (such as weight or blood sugar), and receive reminders to take their medication or exercise.

The voice technology allows caregivers to streamline the process of manually recording patient information and entering it into an electronic medical record. With the Echo on the job, half of that work is already done in moments. This allows caregivers to spend more time with their patients and less time worried about paperwork and data entry. Future developments in the technology could see the Echo inputting the medical data directing into an electronic medical record, giving caregivers even more time with patients and less time recording what they’re doing.

“We can give access to family members… the same access we have, to be able to check and see how the clients are doing… so they can see how their mom is doing,” nurse Debra Harrison told CNBC. Access is granted via the use of an online application, allowing family to remotely keep tabs on the condition of their loved one.

An interesting side-benefit of voice-activated technology is that it can combat loneliness, which is a real problem for many home-bound seniors. (A recent study show lonely seniors report 38.5 percent worse symptoms than seniors who say they are not lonely.) The Echo does not just perform tasks, it also responds to the seniors and can do things like tell jokes, wish someone a happy birthday or even just tell them they are loved. Seniors may come to view the device as virtually a member of their family, something that has been noticed among children, as well.

Amazon is partnering with Merck and Luminary Labs on the Alexa Diabetes Challenge, which will award a $125,000 prize in September 2017 to a start-up company that can develop a voice application to help patients with Type-2 diabetes manage their condition.

While the pilot study in southern California used an Amazon Echo, the market is becoming more crowded with such personal assistants. Google has a device called Google Home and Microsoft’s Cortana, have similar capabilities to the Echo. Samsung and other companies are in the process of developing advanced voice-activated personal assistants that could prove life-changing for many seniors and disabled Americans.

However, security will be a key concern as this technology expands into the health care sector. To fulfill their potential, voice applications will need to be connected to patient medical, which will trigger privacy concerns. HIPAA (from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) regulations were not written with this sort of technology in mind and updates will need to be made before voice-activated technology can become an industry-wide practice.




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