Helen Heyrman, a Leader in Home Care who Helped Found NAHC, Dies at 93
May 9, 2014 02:10 PM
Helen Heyrman, executive director of the first Home Health Care Association in the country, earned the moniker "Home Health Helen" and received 28 national, state and local awards for her dedication as an early leader in the field of aging.Her accomplishments were recognized when she was inducted in the first class of the national council's Hall of Fame in 2011. Mrs. Heyrman died of natural causes last month in Evanston, IL.
“Helen Heyrman was a great human being who used her life fully and spent most of it living to improve the lives of others. She was a towering figure in the home care community and helped to create the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in 1982,” said NAHC President Val J. Halamandaris. “Helen served as the Executive Director of the Illinois Home Care & Hospice Council where she worked tirelessly to provide higher standards and excellence in patient care.”
Mrs. Heyrman’s accomplishments were recognized when she was inducted in the first class of the NAHC Home Care and Hospice Hall of Fame along with such other notables as Mother Teresa, President William J. Clinton, Helen Hayes, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Robert J. Dole (R-NC), and Hon. Rosalynn Carter.
"As the IHHC director, Helen was an almost one-woman shop for many years," said Jan Grimes, executive director of the Springfield-based Illinois council, which each year presents the Helen Heyrman Award to an outstanding agency in the state for its contributions within the industry. "She excelled at securing volunteer involvement and was always able to identify what a person could do well and then asking them to do it. She had policy smarts and amazing spirit and persistence."
Mrs. Heyrman became a member of the volunteer staff at what was then the Illinois Council of Home Health in 1978 and went on to serve as its first executive director until 1990. As executive director, she placed a greater emphasis on advocacy and the group grew and members got more involved. The council later changed its name to the Illinois Home Care Council, before becoming the Illinois Homecare & Hospice Council.
Mrs. Heyrman was also a two-time recipient of the Governor's Award for Excellence, a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging and a president of the Illinois Gerontology Consortium.
To read a full obituary on Mrs. Heyrman’s life from the Chicago Tribune, please click here.