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May 15, 2008
Where is VENA today?
Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment (VENA) is a term we should all know well since it has been in place for six months now! On October 1, 2007 Texas WIC staff boldly welcomed the VENA philosophy and style into WIC clinics. Tackling the new and revised 400 risk codes, completing the revised health history forms and utilizing the new documentation tool, the time has quickly passed. The state staff has received many comments and suggestions on how to improve VENA during this six month period. This valuable information will be used to make changes and continue to “tune” our tools and procedures.
A lot has occurred within this past six months. We continue to receive information about what doesn’t work, how to improve what we are doing that does work, and we’ve started lists of do’s and don’ts. In addition:
- a VENA website has been developed and posted,
- a VENA volunteer committee conducts monthly conference calls to share ideas on improving VENA,
- This VENA newsletter has been established and many tools, ideas, and materials that have been shared, discussed, developed and tested.
In January 2008, three conference calls were held to gather input from all levels of local agency staff. We had great participation and a lot of information was collected and shared between different local agency staff and state staff. The areas that local agency staff say they still need some help on are the following:
- Getting the conversation started. Some staff are finding it difficult to get their clients to voice a concern or an interest.
- Appropriately completing the health history forms. Clarification is needed on the intent of some of the questions.
- Clarifying the 400 nutrition risk codes. Staff would like to know if supporting documentation is required and where this information should be documented.
- Needing assistance with goal setting. What constitutes a goal and how to get a parent/guardian to set a goal.
- Requirements on completing the documentation tool. How much documentation is required and is following up required.
As you can see staff is no longer asking question on implementing VENA but rather how to continue the process and improve counseling. The answers to these questions will be presented at the Nutrition Breastfeeding Conference in Austin on July 9th at 1:30 pm and on July 10th at 8:30 am. The name of the session is Value Enhanced Nutrition Assessment, Bridging the Gap. The notes from the conference call will be collected by the end of April and located on the VENA website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wichd/nut/vena-nut.shtm
Many helpful tools staff are currently using are located on the VENA website.
Staff shared that VENA is making a difference. Implementing the VENA philosophy while counseling is satisfying because it focuses on the client and helps to meet their needs.
Even though we have come a long way in six months we believe we have more work ahead of us. We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot of work ahead to ensure all staff is comfortable with the VENA process. We will continue to refine our processes and tools as we move ahead.
State Agency staff truly appreciates all the input and assistance from local agency staff. We have received wonderful insight into what clinic staff is experiencing and what they still need. We look forward to your comments and suggestions to keep VENA strong and alive.