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Sash Program Helps Vermont’s Elderly

Tuesday November 24, 2015

By Cookie Steponaitis

Vermont has long championed supporting our elderly citizens maintaining their homes and living independently for as long as possible. Support and Services at Home (SASH) partners with Agencies on Aging, Home Health Agencies, Mental Health Agencies, Housing Organizations and Community Health Teams. The pilot program began in 2009 and currently serves almost 5000 throughout the state with a diverse set of offerings. The SASH program is a HIPAA compliant program and follows the HIPAA Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The law protects the confidentiality and security of healthcare information.
    Addison County SASH programs are divided into four service areas called panels; Vergennes, Middlebury, Bristol and Shoreham/Orwell designed to serve Medicare recipients. SASH professionals help each person determine their health and wellness goals. Three areas focus on ensuring goals are met in the areas of preventative health care and service coordination, self-management education and coaching, particularly relating to chronic health conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, and transition support after a hospital, nursing home or short – term rehab facility care. SASH Statewide Support Coordinator Melissa Southwick shared that benefits to individual clients can include, “improvement in quality of life, comprehensive health and wellness assessments, individualized healthy living plan, money savings through preventative health care, check-ins and health coaching, convenient access to a wellness nurse, planning for successful transition, a trusted guide to help navigate long-term care, access to prevention and wellness programs and medication management assistance.”
    In addition to SASH being a free and voluntary program, individuals seeking information should email or call (802) 863-2224. You will be referred to the coordinators in each town that include Middlebury-Michelle Whitney, Shoreham/Orwell- Ann Eddy, Bristol- Betsy Ouellette and Vergennes- Diana Rule. SASH has helped many Vermonters and current SASH participant Larry Carlson shared, “I was one of the first people to go into the SASH program and I have been a part of it for three years.  They have done a fantastic job of not only helping me with health, but the daunting amount of paperwork that is associated with different programs. The site coordinators were helpful and it was not confusing. I would not only recommend elderly Vermonters, but those just coming of retirement age to reach out to the SASH program.”
   SASH is for all individuals that are enrolled Medicare and it is a program to prevent and support health concerns and other issues too. Many individuals see SASH as  a safety net  whether they choose to participate in the many programs that it offers or not. There are no time restrains to this program and the SASH Coordinator and the team do what you think works best for you. The participant is in the driver’s seat  always.

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