Compassionfirst Award

2014 Compassionfirst Award Winners


Wanda Latimore
Red River Health Care Systems

Nominated by Jo Harbuck, Administrator of Red River Health Care Systems, the following letter portrays Wanda’s tireless dedication and compassion for home health care.

Wanda is an exceptional individual who came to work with our agency in 1989 and started out caring for a client in extremely poor health that needed total care. Wanda provided the best total care this client could have received preventing her from developing skin breakdown and providing the highest quality of care in the poorest of conditions, in order for her to remain at home until she passed away.

Wanda has had multiple clients over the years and despite the home conditions of these precious clients, she has provided the best of care to make them comfortable and meet their needs which have allowed them to stay in their own homes longer than they could have without her assistance. She is the most dedicated, honest, go above and beyond the call of duty employee, I have ever had the honor to work with in my near 27 years with Red River Health Care. I am excited to have the opportunity to nominate Wanda Latimore for the Compassionfirst Award in the Home Health category. Thank you.


Darlene Stoneking
Frontier Hospice

Nominated by Andrea Shirley, Director of Clinical Services for Frontier Hospice, the following letter explains Darlene’s devotion to caring for others in hospice.

I don’t know too many nurses who go into nursing intending to work with the terminally ill. But after losing her husband in a car accident and her best friend to cancer, Darlene Stoneking, returned to school at the age of 48 to pursue her nursing degree. Before graduating with her BSN, she began work as a hospice volunteer. Darlene is now in her 7th year as RN case manager for that very hospice for which she volunteered!

She has a deep sense of purpose and focus when it comes to providing holistic palliative care to her patients. Her reassuring words during times of desperation and hopelessness are enough to provide patients and families renewed trust. She is a true humanitarian. The energy and enthusiasm with which she goes about her life are remarkable.


Elsie Vidad-Ozdel
Dependable Home Health Care

Nominated by Nancy Dimaano, President and CEO of Best and Dependable Home Health Care, the following letter describes Nancy’s tireless dedication and compassion for home health care.

Ms. Ozdel consistently exhibits the qualities of a professional, caring and dedicated home health nurse. She works very well with her peers and those whom she supervises. She is very flexible with her time to accommodate the changing needs of not just the patients but her co-workers. She maintains a friendly and professional relationship with physicians and other professionals. She has received numerous letters from her patients’ and their significant others, commending her expertise, her professionalism and her dedication to her profession.

As a Case Manager, she admits the patient, and based on her case load, she either keeps the patient or have another RN or LPN to assume the care of the new patient. Patients request for her to keep them. Patients call to inform the Clinical Director or me about how “Ms. Elsie” goes over and beyond her duties to ensure their safety, well-being, and performs her duties always with a smile on her face. Nothing is too difficult or challenging for her.


Sally Schwab
Hands of Hope Hospice

Nominated by Becky Baker, RN, Case Manager at Hands of Hope Hospice, the following letter describes Sally’s dedication to hospice care.

“I am in awe of the work that the Hospice team does…You are an awesome team and I have deep respect for the work that you do with our patients each and every day!” This is an email sent to the team from our leader Sally Schwab. I am nominating Sally for the Compassionfirst award because she exemplifies compassion, not only in her interactions with patients, but perhaps even more importantly, in her leadership of the hospice team of caregivers. Being a Hospice caregiver is the most fulfilling work a person can do. It can also be the most draining of occupations.

In an ever changing environment that makes Hospice feel more like a business of regulations, data and financial concerns, Sally leads us with soul and a compassionate spirit that keeps our focus on the higher purpose and meaning of the work that we do. Her selfless dedication to assure that the caregiving team feels valued gives us the encouragement and support to, in turn, provide compassionate care to our patients. What a gift!

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