2013 Compassionfirst Award

2013 Compassionfirst Award Winners


Diane Schmitt, RN
Sierra Pride Home Health Care Agency

Nominated by Bridget Hamed-M’Bayo, DIrector of Nursing at Sierra Pride Home Health Care Agency, the following letter describes Diane’s incredible passion for caregiving to her patients.

Diane is a homecare nurse. She is special and different than many other home care nurses because she often spends a long time in a patient’s home, even though she is not paid on an hourly basis. Multiple times I have pulled Diane to the side and talked with her about her time spent in patients’ homes and how she is not being paid for the quality time she gives to her home care patient. All she would say is, “I know, I know. But they are lonesome. They need help. How are we going to help them? I wish I could win the lottery so I could open a free hot meal place for these patients.” I then realized Diane also spends much of the money she makes on food and household goods for some patients who cannot afford to buy or do not have the ability to go to the grocery shop to purchase them.

Because of a compassion for nursing and her patients, Diane works seven days a week at any time. Diane is a willing nurse ready to take care of the most critical wound care patients and will drive miles to see patients. Diane goes way above and beyond to make her patients happy and she gets nothing in return but a regular pay for each patient home visit. She deserves more to keep her in good spirits and to know someone has been watching her show her compassion to our sick community with respect and pride, while performing her duties as a service person of our society.

Our company is small. I wish I could hit the lottery and give back something in return to Diane for her hard work to show her that all of us at Sierra appreciate her time and effort. She is a compassionate, wonderful, dedicated, trustworthy, and very reliable nurse. I feel she deserves this 3rd Annual Compassionfirst Award.


Kathy Godbout
Kansas City Hospice House

Nominated by Julie Dreesman, RN at Kansas City Hospice House, the following letter describes Kathy’s devotion to caring for others in hospice.

With Kathy, each patient is treated exactly the same with individual tweaks of care that pertains to them. I witness her bringing items in to make patients more comfortable such as softer gowns, tasty treats, beautiful flowers, calming music and fragrant lotions. All thoughtful gestures originate from her giant heart enclosed in her petite frame. Somehow she performs feats that men twice her size cannot do such as repositioning patients safely.

Of all her many talents, listening to her patients appears to be her most considerate one. She encourages patients to talk, cry, laugh without judgment. Her shining smile and soft giggle brighten the day of the many people she works with. Kathy has routinely volunteered to take on the more challenging patient and family. One gentleman with severe skin sores requested her to give his bath as she took time to not hurt him.

Finally, Kathy truly cares about KC Hospice House in that she regards it as her second home and family. Many times throughout a work day she is found performing additional cleaning, stocking and assisting coworkers… all in an effort to make others’ days run smoothly. Without hesitation I would want her to care for me or my loved ones in our last hours or days of life.


Rosalinda Herrera, RN
Home Health Services of Houston, Inc.

Nominated by Danielle Romero of Home Health Services of Houston, the following letter describes Rosalinda’s tireless dedication and compassion for home health care.

In April 2013, our agency accepted a Spanish-only speaking family with a six month old infant, Ivan, who required extensive skilled care. The referral source had exhausted their efforts to find an agency with a Spanish-speaking nurse to accept him. We agreed to cover the case and do whatever was needed.

Rosalinda utilized her personal time to assist mom in getting therapy started, organizing transportation to and from the doctor, and obtaining needed meds and equipment. The time spent setting up services and the like, coupled with compassionate and thorough translating for mom, exceeded the usual and customary insurance coverage time allowance for admissions. Rosalinda spent visit time providing disease process and safe equipment management education. She never complained and never said “No.” She attended office visits translating between mom and the physician Ivan’s health status. While in ICU, Rosalinda visited with the family daily. She translated, providing cognitive and emotional comfort to Ivan’s family.

When a decision to put Ivan on hospice was made, Rosalinda helped coordinate care between the providing agencies. She made calls at all hours of the day and night arranging services and providing mom the comfort and support she needed to face the imminent death of her child. Mom was worried and had many, many questions. Rosalinda was there to answer.

Ivan passed away in just a few days. Rosalinda continued to demonstrate love and compassion during their loss. Ivan’s mom shared that she could not have made it without Rosalinda’s unselfish support. While at the funeral Rosalinda was observed to smile and encourage the family. We saw such warm smiles between her and the family. And we glimpsed her tears when she thought no one was looking. Afterwards our office received numerous calls complimenting Rosalinda’s role assisting them and Ivan’s family.


Larry Thompson
VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

Nominated by Carla King, Team Manager at VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, the following letter describes Larry’s incredible dedication and commitment to hospice.

VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life services, is proud to nominate its Broward program’s Chaplain Larry Thompson for the Compassionfirst Award.

Larry is known for his huge smile and his big heart. His “arms wide-open” style of embracing everyone who crosses his path along with his warm, caring and gregarious spirit is comforting and uplifting. He quotes Bible verses or poetry in a moment’s time, always choosing the right word to say or share in every situation.

Larry has poured his heart into the ministry of hospice chaplaincy. His interaction with hospice patients is remarkable. On many occasions, patients who are non-verbal react positively with facial and verbal responses when Larry interacts with them. His most touching role is counseling grieving children and their families on a weekly basis as part of VITAS’ partnership with the Children’s Bereavement Center.

He performs as Master of Ceremony for various events, serves on planning committees for community events, frequently presents in-service training on multiple topics, and educates new employees on the importance of customer service. Larry has pastored small and large churches and has led mission trips all over the world. He has authored several books and volunteers at his church where he serves as a pastor in the area of counseling. He also invests his time in the growing ministry of his 14-year-old daughter, who he drives to her various speaking ministry engagements.

Larry’s most fulfilling ministry, in addition to caring for his loving family, is when he is alone with a dying patient, providing a quiet presence, comforting a grieving loved one, giving a word of hope. His passion is to minister to “the least of these,” thoroughly convinced that the ministry of hospice chaplaincy truly “makes a difference.”

About the Compassionfirst Award

In the home health and hospice industry, we are fortunate to have some of the finest and most dedicated caregivers around. The Compassionfirst Award was created in 2010 to honor those who exemplify the very best in home care.

This annual award is presented to one home health and one hospice caregiver who goes above and beyond what is required of him or her and regularly shows compassion, kindness and dedication when caring for others.

To thank these very special people for their hard work and dedication to home health and hospice care, the Compassionfirst Award winners are honored with:

  • $500 Cash Prize
  • Recognition by HEALTHCAREfirst at the NHPCO Clinical Team Conference & NAHC Annual Meeting
  • Featured article on the HEALTHCAREfirstwebsite

2014 Compassionfirst Award Winners
2013 Compassionfirst Award Winners
2012 Compassionfirst Award Winners