Why Work for MedStar VNA

Whether you desire a career with flexible hours or an opportunity to grow professionally, prospective employees can benefit greatly by working at MedStar Visiting Nurse Association. As a member of MedStar Health, you can make a positive impact. To learn more about working at MedStar VNA, view the infographic below.

Pneumonia Glossary



A type of medicine that treats minor aches and pains, and reduces fever.


A type of medicine used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infection.

Antiviral Drugs

A category of medicines used to treat viral infections.


A condition that occurs when the loss of body fluids, mostly water, exceeds the amount that is taken in.


A disturbed state of mind that occurs in fever, intoxication, and other disorders and is characterized by restlessness, illusions, and incoherence of thought and speech.


A chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.


A group of small typically parasitic bacteria that lack cell walls and sometimes cause diseases.

Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:

Schedule an Event

If you'd like to host a vaccination event, click below to register today.

Caring for Those with Pneumonia


When someone has pneumonia, they usually feel very sick. Common symptoms of pneumonia can include:

  • Fever, with or without chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing with mucus
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Heavy sweating
  • Mental confusion

When to Call the Doctor

Contact a doctor if you see that someone has any of the symptoms listed above. In most cases, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid serious complications.

After seeking medical care, you should also call the doctor if:

  • Chest pain does not get better
  • Shortness of breath gets worse
  • Fingernails, toenails, or skin become dark or turn bluish
  • Blood comes out of the mouth while coughing


Treatment for pneumonia involves curing the infection and preventing complications. The type of treatment prescribed for pneumonia depends on the type of pneumonia present, as well as how severe it is. In many cases, pneumonia can be treated at home.

The following measures can help with recovery and avoid complications:

  • The doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs to help treat the disease. All prescription drugs should be taken as directed.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Consider taking acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or aspirin to help reduce fever. Read and make sure you understand all medication labels before giving them.

Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:

Schedule an Event

If you'd like to host a vaccination event, click below to register today.

Pneumonia Vaccine Facts

Vaccination is the best way to prevent pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia. Pneumococcal disease is a serious health threat that can lead to death. In the U.S. alone, more people die from pneumonia each year than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined.

What types of pneumonia vaccines are available?
Who needs a booster shot of the pneumonia vaccine?
Who should NOT get the pneumonia vaccine?
When does protection from the pneumonia vaccine begin?
What are the side effects of the pneumonia vaccine?
Can a person 65 years of age or older receive both vaccines at the same time?
Can influenza (flu) and pneumonia vaccines be given at the same time?
Are the pneumococcal vaccines effective?
What does the pneumonia vaccine cost?

What types of pneumonia vaccines are available?

There are two different types of pneumonia vaccines, both of which are provided by MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA).

  1. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23): Also known as Pneumovax, this vaccine is recommended for adults 65 and older. Pneumovax provides protection against 23 different strains of Streptococcus pneumonia bacteria. This vaccine is made using dead bacteria.
  2. Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13): Also called Prevnar 13, this vaccine is routinely given to infants and toddlers, but also approved for use among adults 50 and older. It is recommended for all adults 65 and older. Prevnar 13 provides protection against 13 strains of pneumococcal bacteria.

Who needs a booster shot of the pneumococcal vaccine?

Some people may need a booster shot after five years. The doctor will recommend a second dose of Pneumovax if you are between the ages of 19 and 64 and have:

  • A damaged spleen or no spleen
  • Kidney disease
  • A weakened immune system
  • Cancer
  • History of an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • Sickle cell disease

Adults over 65 who received Pneumovax before age 65 also need a booster shot if it has been more than five years since being vaccinated.

Who should NOT get the pneumococcal vaccine?

Individuals should NOT receive either pneumococcal vaccine if they:

  • Experienced a life-threatening allergic reaction to either vaccine
  • Are severely allergic to any of the vaccines' ingredients
  • Are moderately to severely ill at the time of scheduled vaccination
  • Are pregnant*

*It is not known whether the Pneumovax and Prevnar 13 vaccines are safe to get during pregnancy. There are no reports of harm to babies whose mothers received the vaccine before realizing they were pregnant. Pregnant women should only receive these vaccinations if they are clearly needed.

When does protection from the pneumonia vaccine begin?

Most healthy adults develop protection within two to three weeks of getting the shot.

What are the side effects of the pneumococcal vaccine?

Like all vaccines, both Pneumovax and Prevnar 13 can have side effects. But the risk of harm or death from either is extremely rare.

Reported side effects are similar for both vaccines. Less than one percent of people who receive these vaccines have reported:

  • Swelling, pain, or redness where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches

Although rare, those who experience a severe allergic reaction usually begin to experience symptoms within a few minutes of receiving a pneumococcal vaccine. The following can be signs of a severe allergic reaction:

  • Behavior changes
  • Breathing difficulty, including wheezing
  • Dizziness
  • Hoarse voice
  • High fever
  • Hives
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Weakness

Seek immediate medical care if you notice any of these side effects after receiving either pneumococcal vaccine.

Can a person 65 years of age or older receive both vaccines at the same time?

Pneumovax and Prevnar 13 should not be given at the same time. Healthy people 65 years of age and older, who have never received Pneumovax, should receive Prevnar 13 first followed by a dose of Pneumovax one year later.

Can influenza (flu) and pneumococcal vaccines be given at the same time?

Yes, you can get either pneumococcal vaccine (but not both pneumonia vaccines) when you get the influenza (flu) vaccine. While you do not need a pneumococcal vaccine every year, it is important that you get a flu shot every flu season. Having the flu increases your chances of getting pneumonia.

Are the pneumococcal vaccines effective?

Yes. Studies have shown both vaccines to be highly effective in preventing pneumococcal disease in young children and adults. To learn more about these recent studies, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) website.

What does the pneumococcal vaccine cost?

Most private health insurance policies cover pneumococcal vaccines. Check with your insurance provider for details on whether there is any cost to you and for a list of in-network vaccine providers. Medicare Part B also covers 100% of the cost for both pneumococcal vaccines (when administered at least one year apart).

Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:

Schedule an Event

If you'd like to host a vaccination event, click below to register today.

Pneumonia Basics

To protect yourself and others from getting pneumonia, it is necessary to understand what it is and what causes it.

What is pneumonia?
What causes pneumonia?
How is pneumonia spread?
What are common pneumonia symptoms?
What is my risk of getting pneumonia?
Can pneumonia be prevented?
Who should get vaccinated against pneumonia?

What is pneumonia?

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness in people of all ages. Pneumonia is not a single disease. It can have more than 30 different causes. Understanding the cause of pneumonia is important because pneumonia treatment depends on its cause.

What causes pneumonia?

Pneumonia is not caused by a single type of germ. There are five main causes of pneumonia:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses, such as flu
  • Mycoplasma
  • Other infectious agents, such as fungi
  • Various chemicals

Approximately one-third of U.S. pneumonia cases each year are caused by viruses. These viruses are the most common cause of pneumonia in children and young adults.

How is pneumonia spread?

Pneumonia can be spread in a number of ways, including:

  • Breathing infected air particles into the lungs.
  • Breathing certain bacteria from the nose and throat into the lungs.
  • Contracting a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or influenza (flu).
  • Complications of a viral illness, such as measles or chickenpox.

What are common pneumonia symptoms?

Pneumonia symptoms can vary from mild to severe, depending on the type of pneumonia you have, your age and health.

Bacterial Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia caused by bacteria usually come on suddenly. They often start during or after an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu or a cold. Symptoms may include:

  • Cough, often with mucus
  • Fever, as high as 105 degrees F
  • "Teeth-chattering" chills
  • Excessive sweating and clammy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Confusion or delirium, especially in adults 65 years and older
  • Chest pain, that often gets worse when coughing or breathing in
  • Low energy and tired

Non-Bacterial Pneumonia

Symptoms of pneumonia not caused by bacteria may come on gradually and are often not as bad or as obvious as symptoms of bacterial pneumonia. Many people don't know that they have non-bacterial pneumonia, because they don't feel sick. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weaknesses
  • Shortness of breath
  • Little mucus when coughing

What is my risk of getting pneumonia?

Anyone can get pneumonia, but some people are at a higher risk than others. Your chances of getting pneumonia increase if you:

  • Smoke
  • Recently had a respiratory infection, like a cold or the flu
  • Suffer from a chronic lung disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis (CF), or asthma
  • Experience difficulty swallowing, due to stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, or other neurological conditions
  • Are younger than one year of age or older than 65
  • Have an impaired immune system
  • Drink alcohol in excess

Can pneumonia be prevented?

Pneumonia can be prevented if you:

  • Get Vaccinated.
    • Vaccinate children younger than five and adults 65 and older against pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia. There are two types of the pneumococcal vaccine. Talk to your doctor to find out if one or both of them is right for you.
    • Receive a flu shot every year. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia, so preventing the flu is a good way to prevent pneumonia.
    • Stay up-to-date on other vaccines. There are several other vaccines that can prevent infections by bacteria and viruses that may lead to pneumonia, including pertussis, chickenpox and measles. Talk to your doctor about whether you and your children are up to date on your vaccines and to determine if any of these vaccines are appropriate.
  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands frequently helps prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that may cause pneumonia.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco damages your lung's ability to fight off infection. For this reason, smokers are at a higher risk of getting pneumonia.
  • Avoid those who are sick. Stay away from people who have colds, the flu, or other respiratory tract infections. If you have never had or been vaccinated against the measles or chickenpox, it is recommended that you avoid contact with those who are infected.
  • Practice good health habits. By eating a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep, you can help your body stay healthy and recover quickly from a cold, the flu or other respiratory illnesses.

Who should get vaccinated against pneumonia?

There are currently two types of vaccines which offer protection against pneumococcal pneumonia, a common form of bacterial pneumonia.  Those who qualify to receive one or both of these vaccines, include:

  • All children younger than five years old
  • All adults 65 years or older
  • People six years or older with certain risk factors, such as:
    • Sickle cell disease
    • HIV-infection
    • Cochlear implant
    • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks

To learn more about the pneumococcal vaccines, visit our Pneumonia Vaccine Facts page.

Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:

Schedule an Event

If you'd like to host a vaccination event, click below to register today.

Types of Giving

As a non-profit organization, MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) depends on charitable giving to help continue its mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Generous community members like you help MedStar VNA to expand and develop new programs and services to enhance patient care and to care for the vulnerable people who need help most. Medicare and other insurers do not always reimburse MedStar VNA for all of the services and programs necessary to help patients heal safely at home. Donations make the difference.

Funding Opportunities

MedStar VNA has established several charitable funds to ensure that philanthropic support is directed toward programs and services that best align with each donors’ individual interests.

  • Recognize Your Caregiver
    Many patients receive such great care from MedStar VNA’s home health team that they want to give back. The Honor Your Caregiver Program allows former patients and their loved ones to show their appreciation. Your contribution will support MedStar VNA’s mission to continue providing homecare and wellness services to the community.
  • Quality of Life Fund
    MedStar VNA uses the Quality of Life Fund to support home health patients who lack the financial means to pay for necessary medicines, supplies or services that are not covered by third party payors. Funds are granted when the needed goods are critical to a patient’s recovery.

    Example of such goods and services include:

    • Doctor-recommended over-the-counter medications
    • Prescriptions
    • Blankets
    • Adult diapers
    • Shower chairs
    • Blood pressure cuffs
    • Canes
    • Space heaters
    • Pill boxes
  • Research and Technology Fund
    To ensure MedStar VNA delivers the highest quality and most advanced care, we rely on contributions to the Research and Technology Fund. Designed to support technology enhancement and patient care advancement, in the past, funds have been used to sustain the In-Home Patient Monitoring Program, purchase mobile devices for nurses and therapists in the field and to upgrade patient care software.
  • Clinical Education Fund
    In the ever-changing world of healthcare, it is MedStar VNA’s goal to ensure our home health providers receive the most current training and education. By supporting the Clinical Education Fund, you will be granting our caregivers the ability to continue their education and training in the healthcare field. When our caregivers receive the best training, our patients receive the best possible care.
  • Fight the Flu Fund
    Each year, MedStar VNA provides free flu shots to community members who are underserved, underprivileged and at the greatest risk. As a non-profit organization, we depend on donors like you to help us prevent disease and provide much-needed healthcare services in the community. Each flu vaccination costs $35. By making a donation, you could help someone’s grandmother, grandfather, niece or nephew avoid the miserable and potentially fatal symptoms of the influenza virus.
  • Area of Greatest Need Fund
    When unplanned events or expenses arise, the Area of Greatest Need Fund supplies immediate relief. By giving an unrestricted gift, MedStar VNA can apply your contribution to where the need is greatest. In the past, donations have been used to supplement many of the other existing funds like Quality of Life.

Additional Giving Opportunities

For more information, call the Philanthropy Office at 410-540-4634.

Corporate Wellness Programs

corporate wellness programs

Want to Create a Healthier, Happier Workplace?

MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) can help! MedStar VNA offers a number of in-office wellness programs that are specifically designed to meet your company’s needs. Our corporate wellness programs not only provide valuable preventative healthcare, but may also help your company lower health care costs. If you don’t see the service you need below, contact us for additional options.

Why Choose Our Corporate Wellness Programs?

As a leading provider of employee wellness programs in the Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia region, MedStar VNA’s registered nurses serve corporate businesses of all sizes. Our employee health and wellness program offerings address the full spectrum of physical health. With a client base of over 1,000 happy customers, we can help motivate your employees to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthy commitments. Below are a few comments from our clients:

  • “Staff were professional and efficient.”
  • “Nurse was friendly, cheerful and extroverted. She put even those employees who have "shot phobia" at ease.”
  • “We have never had a bad experience with any of the health care professionals dispatched to our office. They have been top-rate and welcomed each year by management.”

Benefits of Corporate Wellness

Workplace wellness is a smart investment. The number of working adults with chronic diseases (such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease) has grown by 25 percent in the last 10 years. Many chronic diseases are linked to unhealthy behaviors. By providing a supportive work environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle, you can:

  • Reduce absenteeism due to sick days and medical appointments
  • Demonstrate your company’s interest in employee health and well-being
  • Limit dissatisfaction among healthy employees faced with increased workloads cause by absenteeism
  • Improve productivity through employee engagement
  • Increase employee satisfaction and build a sense of community

Vaccination Events

MedStar VNA can help protect members of your organization from the seasonal flu and other infectious diseases. Our team of experienced nurses provide on-site immunizations appropriate for your organization, including:

Preventative Wellness Screenings

MedStar VNA brings convenient and cost-effective wellness screenings to your location. Knowing your important health numbers can encourage employees to proactively take better care of their health. Available screenings include:

  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Analysis
  • Complete Health Screening
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Testing

For more information, visit our Preventative Wellness Screenings page.


Call Us Today

To learn more about MedStar VNA’s vaccination and wellness programs, call:

Schedule a Wellness Event

If you'd like to host a wellness event, click below to register today.

Specialized Services

The nurses, therapists, social workers, and homecare aides at MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) specialize in caring for patients with a variety of medical conditions. Home healthcare team members work with each patient and the patient's doctor to develop a personal treatment plan that meets their unique needs. MedStar VNA helps patients to regain their independence at home by teaching them how to control their disease symptoms, take medicines as ordered, build their strength, and prevent further illness or injury.

Specialized care includes:

  • Burn Care: Patients suffering from mild to severe burns can benefit from home healthcare services like nursing, physical and occupational therapy, pain management, wound care, and support for activities of daily living.
  • Cancer Care Services: MedStar VNA nurses and therapists offer specialized care to meet cancer patients’ needs, including: wound, ostomy and continence care, medication management, IV therapy, strength training, and fall prevention.
  • Continence Care: Patients living with incontinence can receive specialized homecare treatment to include: Moisture management, toileting programs, physical therapy (including pelvic floor muscle exercises), home accessibility assessment, as well as patient coaching and education to help prevent accidents before they occur.
  • Diabetes Care: MedStar VNA’s comprehensive diabetes care program includes education and lifestyle analysis designed to help improve or maintain quality of life. Nurses offer education and assistance with blood sugar monitoring, meal planning, wound care, foot care, and insulin management.
  • Gastroenterology Care: Patients with digestive tract disorders achieve independence and live comfortably at home with nursing, wound, and ostomy care support from MedStar VNA’s clinical experts.
  • Geriatric Care: Senior citizens have unique emotional, physical and medical needs that require specialized care. MedStar VNA specializes in the care of older adults and the chronic conditions they often suffer from, including: dementia, arthritis, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, functional disability, and hypertension.
  • Heart Care: MedStar VNA’s home health experts specialize in treating patients with heart conditions like congestive heart failure, as well as those recovering from heart surgeries like coronary artery bypass graft or open heart surgery.
  • Neurological Rehabilitation: MedStar VNA offers specialized nursing care and rehabilitation services to people with neurological disease, trauma, or brain surgery. Commonly treated neurological conditions include: Alzheimer's disease and dementia, brain tumors and hemorrhages, epilepsy, memory disorders, movement disorders, multiple sclerosis, nerve damage, neuromuscular disorders, neurosurgery, Parkinson's disease, and cerebrovascular accident (stroke).
  • Orthopedic Care: MedStar VNA’s rehabilitation team provides a well-structured, evidence-based rehabilitation program for patients recovering from orthopedic illness and injury, such as multiple orthopedic trauma, hip fracture surgery, joint replacements, and arthritis. Homecare physical and occupational therapists offer condition-specific treatments to improve patients’ strength, mobility, and balance.
  • Pain Management: Patients with acute or chronic pain achieve and maintain their maximum level of independence and comfort through self-care education, therapy, and skilled nursing services. Conditions often requiring in-home pain management include: diagnosis or recent onset of disease, pain after surgery, cancer-related pain, or wound pain.
  • Stroke Recovery: Recovering from a stroke can be physically and emotionally challenging. To help stroke victims regain a quality of life, MedStar VNA provides an interdisciplinary approach to stroke rehabilitation. With help from skilled nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists, patients are able to relearn skills lost due to stroke.
  • Surgery Recovery: After surgery, regaining strength and managing pain can be a challenge. MedStar VNA offers skilled nurses and therapists who specialize in helping patients regain their independence at home post surgery.
  • Transplant Rehabilitation: Recovering from transplant surgery requires specialized care and an individual recovery plan. After a hospital stay, patients may need continued medical care at home. Our skilled nursing and therapy services help transplant patients manage new medicines, understand and follow doctor’s orders, and identify symptoms of organ rejection.
  • Wound Care: To meet patients' wound care needs, a team of MedStar VNA nurses hold a special wound, ostomy and continence care certification. These nurses visit patients' homes and consult with other nurses to monitor wounds and ensure they show improvement.

Contact Us

To find out more about our home healthcare services, call: 800-862-2166.

Do You Qualify?

Patients must meet certain Eligibility Requirements to qualify for in-home healthcare services.

Companion and Homemaking Services

companion services

The experienced caregivers from MedStar VNA Care Partners are available to help you or a loved one with the extra non-medical assistance needed to live safely and comfortably at home. Care and support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on a private-pay basis, in Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard Counties, MD. Whether current caregivers are looking for brief respite care or help is needed on a regular basis, we can build a plan that works for the individual’s unique needs.

We realize that each individual has different needs and that these requirements may change. Our in-home companions offer flexibility to meet the needs and interests of our individual clients. Companions can help individuals with daily living activities (as appropriate), encourage self-esteem, and promote independence and healthy living.

We realize that each individual has different needs and that these requirements may change. Our companions offer flexibility to meet the needs and interests of our individual clients. Companions can help individuals with daily living activities (as appropriate), encourage self-esteem, and promote independence and healthy living.

Companion Services:

  • Companionship and conversation
  • Safety supervision
  • Assistance with start-of-day activities (ie: picking out clothes)
  • Reminder services (medications, dates, routines, etc.)
  • Monitoring diet and eating habits
  • Entertainment (games, crafts, reading, etc.)
  • Arranging and escorting to appointments and social events

Housekeeping Services:

  • Light house cleaning
  • Errands (prescription pick-up, dry cleaning, etc.)
  • Organizing and reading mail
  • Grocery shopping
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Assistance with pet care
  • Planning, preparing, and cleaning up meals

Regardless of the activity or need, our companions strive to ensure that the client has a safe and enjoyable experience.

Careful Employee Screening

Your personal safety is important to us. All of our caregivers are employed by MedStar Visiting Nurse Association (VNA). We do not use contract or registry staff to perform these services. Prior to employment, all applicants must undergo a comprehensive background check, driving record evaluation, as well as drug and alcohol testing. This is how we ensure that only trustworthy, competent caregivers visit our clients’ homes.

Contact Us

To find out more about our home healthcare services, call: 800-862-2166.

Healthy-at-Home Assessment

Recovering from an illness or a hospital stay may take time. To make sure that home is the safest and most appropriate place to recover, one of our registered nurses will assess the client’s unique needs.

The Healthy-at-Home Assessment includes:

  • A survey of the home environment to identify the need for additional support or to identify safety risks.
  • Instruction and organization of medicines
  • Assessment of personal care needs and recommendations
  • Identification of community support resources that may be needed
  • Assistance and direction to set up doctor appointments for follow up

During the assessment, be honest about your needs. Ask yourself:

  • What were you able to do prior to hospitalization?
  • What was your living situation like?
  • Were you receiving help prior to hospitalization?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What's your general health condition?
  • What kind of practical support do you need?
  • Are you independent in daily living activities?
    1. Transferring
    2. Toileting
    3. Bathing
    4. Dressing
    5. Feeding self
  • Will my condition improve with physical and/or occupational therapy? (Specific examples include stroke, hip fracture, head injury, or generalized reconditioning from pneumonia or prolonged bed-rest.)
  • Do you have any other skilled needs? (IV medications, specialized wound care, tube feeding, respiratory care)

It is possible that the assessment will find that caring for yourself at home is not the best option. If this happens, a MedStar VNA Care Partners team member can help you investigate other options and other sources of support.

Contact Us

To find out more about our home healthcare services, call: 800-862-2166.