After graduating from UT-Houston Health Science Center with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Olivia spent the majority of her nursing career in critical care, specifically ICU/CCU with an emphasis in cardiac care. She left the hospital world in 2010 to join the Visiting Nurse Association Hospice and has been with the Visiting Nurse Association since that time as a field nurse, case manager, branch manager in Collin County, and now as the vice president and chief nursing officer for Visiting Nurse Association. Hospice care truly encompasses everything Olivia loves about nursing from critical thinking to direct patient care, family support and collaboration with many different disciplines and physicians. The Visiting Nurse Association embodies what it means to care for people well and provide meaning, expertise and support at the end of life, and this is Olivia’s passion.
Sarah Miles joined the Visiting Nurse Association in 2009 as a hospice and home care case manager. Her attention to detail and desire to “always do it right” made her the ideal candidate for managing the Clinical Education Department in 2017. She was chosen to lead the Visiting Nurse Association’s new Care Choices Palliative Care Program in 2018, breaking new ground in offering compassionate and supportive care for those with terminal illnesses who are still seeking aggressive therapies. Most recently, she was promoted to director of quality, where her responsibilities include continued oversight of the education and palliative programs. Sarah is dedicated to ensuring the Visiting Nurse Association remains compliant with all regulatory requirements, while also developing programs to promote overall clinical quality and client satisfaction. She considers Visiting Nurse Association her “forever home” and considers it a privilege to serve our most vulnerable population as a member of the Visiting Nurse Association.
Lainie Caldwell joined the Visiting Nurse Association in 2006 as an ESU nurse and has continued to grow her professional career with the organization for over a decade. Prior to joining the Visiting Nurse Association, Lainie received her Bachelor of Science in nursing at Texas Woman’s University. She worked for more than 10 years in oncology nursing in the hospital. Lainie wanted more one-on-one time with patients and families and remembered her nursing school clinical rotation at the Visiting Nurse Association, which drove her to pursue her interest in home care where patients can die with dignity and independence. Lainie has grown at Visiting Nurse Association as a field nurse, case manager, branch manager and now managing director. Lainie has a loving and supportive husband John, and two teenagers, Sydney and Noah. They live in McKinney with her favorite dog Bentley.
Michelle Donnell, managing director for the Visiting Nurse Association started her nursing career working as an emergency room nurse in 2010. After her mother received hospice care from a team of VNA Hospice workers, she quickly found that her true calling as a nurse was providing hospice care with the Visiting Nurse Association. She began working with the same Visiting Nurse Association team as a case manager in the Visiting Nurse Association’s East Texas office in 2012. She has served as the manager for the Kaufman and Dallas teams and now serves as the managing director for the southern region of the Visiting Nurse Association Michelle and her teams strive to provide a holistic approach to caring for every patient and their family, understanding that hospice is not only about the patient but the entire family. Michelle’s goal in leading teams is to ensure that the quality care that she received as a family member during that trying time is the same care that is provided under her watch.
Gail holds a BA from the University of North Texas and MSW from Tulane University. She is a seasoned social worker with 49 years of experience. Prior to working at VNA, she worked in counseling agencies and working with adoption agencies. Gail has been part of the VNA family since 1992 and worked as a social worker with VNA in the field for more than 20 years before becoming the Director of Family Care Services. She is a native Dallasite and has been married 47 years with two adult children and one grandchild.
Sarah Harris joined the Visiting Nurse Association in August of 2012 as a community liaison. Before taking the role as director, Sarah served as the marketing manager. She transitioned into the director of marketing role in June of 2018, bringing with her 21 years of marketing experience, 10 of which are in health care. Sarah is driven by a passion for helping seniors in need and promoting dignity and grace at the end of life. Sarah lives in Collin County with her husband, Craig, and two teenage daughters, Madeline and Ally. They enjoy spending their free time as a family participating in horse shows, cheer competitions and swim meets.
A list of surrounding Meals on Wheels locations outside of Dallas County are provided below. Additional Meals on Wheels locations may also be found by visiting www.MOWAA.org.
Denton County (Lewisville, The Colony)
Ellis County (Ennis, Ferris)
Kaufman County (Terrell)
Kaufman County (Forney, Crandall)
Metro Port Area (Grapevine, Roanoke, Keller)
Smith County (Tyler)
Van Zandt County (Canton)
Jewish Family Services-Kosher Meals
Our care team is specially trained and certified to care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Our goal is to ensure our patients have pain control, are comfortable and safe, helping to reduce trips to the emergency room or hospital. Hospice care can also provide a great support to loved ones and caregivers.
VNA manages complex patients with multiple contributing conditions such as renal failure, pulmonary disease, etc. Our symptom management experts help patients with symptoms often found in end-stage heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath, edema (swelling), and blood pressure concerns. Our experienced RNs can also manage supportive intravenous cardiac medications, as well as infusion lines and complex oxygen needs.
Your VNA care team is trained to provide the care and education needed for patients and families facing difficult treatment decisions. In coordination with your physician and our hospice physicians, our team will address any treatment-related symptoms, as well as complications that may arise from stopping treatment. To ensure symptoms are treated quickly, your team will work with specialized pharmacists to have the necessary medications delivered right to your home.
Music has been determined to be a highly effective therapeutic tool for healing and wellness. It can help remind patients of cherished memories, alleviate pain, promote relaxation and enhance one’s quality of life. Each music therapy session is individualized to fit the patient’s requirements. Depending on the needs and abilities of the patient, the therapy may involve composing a new song, singing old favorites or even improvising new music with an instrument.
Music is used as a tool to facilitate wellness in a target area such as mental, physical, spiritual, emotional or cognitive functioning.
Pets have a unique way of providing companionship and unconditional love for people. They can help reduce anxiety, stress, depression and loneliness that can come with facing a terminal illness. When appropriate, pet therapy also promotes active movement to help improve overall range of motion and strength of our patients. Pet therapists and the animals we work with are all specially trained and certified to provide safe companionship as part of a care plan.
Bereavement is the process of coping with grief and loss. Feelings of grief and loss can happen at any time during the course of facing an illness. Dealing with personal grief is unique to each person. Having experienced, trained professionals to help you navigate change and loss can help establish a foundation of healthy grieving. Our bereavement team may visit you in person, reach out to you over the phone, or host group events and activities.
VNA SafeHaven is a free grief support program in Denton offering emotional support to families with children and teens who have experienced loss through the death of someone significant in their lives. VNA SafeHaven is open to any child ages 5 to 18 and their family who have experienced the death of a loved one. Adult professionals and highly trained, caring volunteers lead small groups of children of similar age in age-appropriate activities and discussions on grief and coping skills.