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History of the Aurora VNA of Wisconsin

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The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin was founded in 1906 with an idea conceived by Milwaukee businesswoman Sarah Boyd. Mrs. Boyd had been having her family's nurse visit the homes of ill employees of the Shadbolt-Boyd Iron Company, where Boyd served as president. In 1906, she hired a nurse from Chicago's Visiting Nurse Association to live in her home and go out on charitable cases.

In 1907 the VNA of Milwaukee was incorporated, with Boyd as president. (She served in that role until her death in 1924). More nurses were added. That year 4 VNA nurses visited 698 sick, injured, and chronically or terminally ill patients.

In 1908, the VNA held its first fund-raising event. Infant welfare clinics were added to the services. Care was provided for sick children in the public schools and for tuberculosis patients at the South Side Free Dispensary.

In 1920 the VNA began caring for pregnant women and new mothers. This continued until 1976, when that program was transferred to the Milwaukee Health Department.

In 1946 the American Cancer Society and the Foundation for Infantile Paralysis contracted with the VNA to care for cancer and polio patients. In 1958 the VNA extended its services beyond Milwaukee County to include other communities in the Milwaukee area. It also began providing part-time housekeeping and personal care for patients.

The Aurora Visiting Nurse Association of Wisconsin became part of Aurora Health Care in 1988. It now serves people throughout eastern Wisconsin.