Family Ties

When Patricia Quinn Crow founded Visiting Nurse Association of Florida nearly 40 years ago, she couldn’t have known how the organization would grow. Today, the Crow family reflects on the VNA’s traditions as they plan something special for December, when they will host the Stuart Christmas Parade and Winter Wonderland.
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When Patricia Quinn Crow founded Visiting Nurse Association of Florida nearly 40 years ago, she couldn’t have known how the organization would grow. Today, the Crow family reflects on the VNA’s traditions as they plan something special for December, when they will host the Stuart Christmas Parade and Winter Wonderland.

The library’s literature selection beckons bookworms to comfy chairs – until the adjacent ice cream parlor poses too many tasty temptations. Then the living room, with its 30-foot-high ceiling and arched windows, entices with a snuggly couch, fireplace and grand piano.

Grand Oaks of Jensen Beach resembles – with all the amenities – an upscale resort. Instead, it’s the latest luxury-assisted living facility from the founders of Visiting Nurse Association of Florida.

The 60,000-square-foot, 62-suite facility (with 14 suites for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients) is only six miles – but light years away – from the modest downtown Stuart office where Patricia Quinn Crow and one nurse started VNA of Florida nearly 40 years ago.

Today, VNA of Florida, winner of numerous national awards, employs more than 700 people, conducting some 2 million patient visits in Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Okeechobee and 10 other counties.

“Every patient had to be treated and respected because we were in their home and their environment,” Crow remembers. “We grew, I believe, because of the quality of care that we gave to the patient.”

In 1972, Kenneth Crow, Patricia’s husband of 35 years, was hired with Grumman Aircraft Engineering, relocating their family from New York to Stuart. Already accomplished in business, Patricia Crow quickly excelled in the workforce and was recommended when Palm Beach Regional VNA sought a Stuart office.

Crow retired in 1998, but her family vanguards her vision. From financial consultant to administrator to chief operating officer, son Don Crow helmed the company’s growth into assisted living (Grand Oaks of Okeechobee in 2011 and Grand Oaks of Palm City set for 2016); VNA Plus’ concierge home health care; even a reboot of the doctor’s house call with Visiting Physicians of the Treasure Coast.

“Home health care puts our staff in tune with the patient’s medical needs and personal needs,” Don says. “With this trust comes a lot of insight. We’re also fortunate to have a board of directors and senior management team that knows the industry, reads the trends and does what it takes to provide a better patient experience.”

VNA of Florida will host the Stuart Christmas Parade on Dec. 5 and launch the inaugural Winter Wonderland from Dec. 5-7. Memorial Park will mix Christmastime in Central Park with yuletide traditions, featuring Santa, a 30-foot-tall Christmas tree and a giant inflatable slide for downhill “sledding.”

“We wanted an event that couples, seniors, kids, young people – the whole family, basically – could really enjoy and look forward to every year,” says Jennifer Crow, who is the director of marketing and communications, and one of Patricia Quinn Crow’s 12 grandchildren (and she has four great-grandchildren).

In 2013, Jennifer Crow conceptualized Winter Wonderland to follow the Stuart Air Show, which VNA sponsored for nine years. She also organizes company cookouts, fitness clubs and beach cleanups to preserve company culture. Twenty-one employees have worked there for 10 years or more; four for 20 years; four for 25 years; and three for 30 years.

This emphasis, like so many things at VNA of Florida, traces to its founder. “I realized yes, the job was important,” Patricia Quinn Crow says, “but family came first.”

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