About Home Health
Helping You Recover in the Comfort of Your Home
Bringing Health Care Home for Nearly a Century
St. Luke’s Home Health has been caring for patients in their homes since 1919. It was founded as the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Bethlehem by the Baby Welfare Association, which provided immigrant mothers of newborn babies with pasteurized milk and childcare advice. The two agencies shared a car and offices at Second and Polk Streets, from where the “Baby Milk Station,” (later “Baby Health Station”) distributed milk.
As the first nurse made her rounds to Bethlehem homes, Woodrow Wilson occupied the white house under prohibition and suffragettes fought to give women the right to vote. The agency's work reflected the public health concerns of the times. For example, in the 1920s the VNA tested hundreds of women at R.K. Laros Silk Mill in Bethlehem for tuberculosis (TB) and at the request of other businesses visited employees’ homes to do TB tests.
Over the next several years, the VNA and Baby Welfare Association merged, acquired responsibility for home nursing in cases of communicable diseases, held well baby conferences for mothers and began an affiliation with the St. Luke’s School of Nursing to provide students with home health experience. In 1937, the VNA joined with other agencies to improve conditions for a Mexican labor camp that developed near the Bethlehem Steel Coke works.
St. Luke’s Home Health Mission Statement
The Visiting Nurse Association of St. Luke’s, as part of the St. Luke’s University Health Network, will provide compassionate, excellent quality, cost effective home health care, hospice services and home based parent/child programs.
Visiting Nurse Association Timeline
- 1937 — The VNA affiliates with the St. Luke’s School of Nursing to offer students home health experience.
- 1951 — Through an agreement with St. Luke’s Hospital, the VNA sends nurses to visit homes of first-time mothers after discharge from the hospital.
- 1961 — A nurse from the VNA begins visiting all 13 departments at St. Luke’s Hospital to determine which patients need home care.
- 1976 — The VNA staff administers flu vaccine to homebound elderly.
- 1981 — The VNA expands its hours and offers services from 8 am to 8 pm due to demand.
- 1986 — The VNA begins providing home hospice care.
- 1989 — The VNA Hospice is certified by Medicare.
- 2000 — The VNA opens inpatient hospice unit at St. Luke’s Hospital, Bethlehem. It is one of only three freestanding hospices in Pennsylvania at the time.
- 2002 — The VNA changes name to Visiting Nurse Association of St. Luke’s to better reflect its role as part of St. Luke’s Hospital & Health Network.