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In the various roles he has undertaken through the years, Val J. Halamandaris has been a singular driving force behind the policy and program initiatives resulting in the recognition of home health care as a viable alternative to institutionalization. His dedication to consumer advocacy, which enhances the quality of life and dignity of those receiving home health care, merits VNA HealthCare Group’s highest recognition and deepest respect. 

VNA HealthCare Group

I have the highest respect for them, especially for the nurses, aides and therapists, who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities, the infirm and dying Americans.  There are few more noble professions.

President Barack Obama

Home health care agencies do such a wonderful job in this country helping people to be able to remain at home and allowing them to receive services

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair, Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee

Home care is a combination of compassion and efficiency.  It is less expensive than institutional care...but at the same time it is a more caring, human, intimate experience, and therefore it has a greater human’s a big mistake not to try to maximize it and find ways to give people the home care option over either nursing homes, hospitals or other institutions

Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Newt Gingrich (R-GA)

Medicaid covers long-term care, but only for low-income families.  And Medicare only pays for care that is connected to a hospital discharge....our health care system must cover these vital services...[and] we should promote home-based care, which most people prefer, instead of the institutional care that we emphasize now.

Former U.S. Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-CD)

We need incentives to...keep people in home health care settings...It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ)


Home care is clearly the wave of the future. It’s clearly where patients want to be cared for. I come from an ethnic family and when a member of our family is severely ill, we would never consider taking them to get institutional care. That’s true of many families for both cultural and financial reasons. If patients have a choice of where they want to be cared for, where it’s done the right way, they choose home.

Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services

A couple of years ago, I spent a little bit of time with the National Association for Home Care & Hospice and its president, Val J. Halamandaris, and I was just blown away. What impressed me so much was that they talked about what they do as opposed to just the strategies of how to deal with Washington or Sacramento or Albany or whatever the case may be. Val is a fanatic about care, and it comes through in every way known to mankind. It comes through in the speakers he invites to their events; it comes through in all the stuff he shares.

Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

Val’s home care organization brings thousands of caregivers together into a dynamic organization that provides them with valuable resources and tools to be even better in their important work. He helps them build self-esteem, which leads to self-motivation.

Mike Vance, former Dean of Disney and author of Think Out of the Box

Val is one of the greatest advocates for seniors in America. He goes beyond the call of duty every time.

Arthur S. Flemming, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare

Val has brought the problems, the challenges, and the opportunities out in the open for everyone to look at. He is a visionary pointing the direction for us. 

Margaret (Peg) Cushman, Professor of Nursing and former President of the Visiting Nurses Association

Although Val has chosen to stay in the background, he deserves much of the credit for what was accomplished both at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was closely associated with me and at the House Select Committee on Aging, where he was Congressman Claude Pepper’s senior counsel and closest advisor. He put together more hearings on the subject of aging, wrote more reports, drafted more bills, and had more influence on the direction of events than anyone before him or since.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Val’s most important contribution is pulling together all elements of home health care and being able to organize and energize the people involved in the industry.

Frank E. Moss, former U.S. Senator

Anyone working on health care issues in Congress knows the name Val J. Halamandaris.

Kathleen Gardner Cravedi, former Staff Director of the House Select Committee on Aging

Without your untiring support and active participation, the voices of people advocating meaningful and compassionate health care reform may not have been heard by national leaders.

Michael Sullivan, Former Executive Director, Indiana Association for Home Care

All of us have been members of many organizations and NAHC is simply the best there is. NAHC aspires to excellence in every respect; its staff has been repeatedly honored as the best in Washington; the organization lives by the highest values and has demonstrated a passionate interest in the well-being of patients and providers.

Elaine Stephens, Director of Home Care of Steward Home Care/Steward Health Systems and former NAHC C

Home care increasingly is one of the basic building blocks in the developing system of long-term care.  On both economic and recuperative bases, home health care will continue to grow as an essential service for individuals, for families and for the community as a whole.

Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

NCOA is excited to be part of this great event and honored to have such influential award winners in the field of aging.

National Council of Aging

Health care at home…is something we need more of, not less of.  Let us make a commitment to preventive and long-term care.  Let us encourage home care as an alternative to nursing homes and give folks a little help to have their parents there.

Former President Bill Clinton

2013 Nurse of the Year Nominees

NAHC Announces Finalists for Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year Award

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and its affiliate Home Healthcare Nurses Association (HHNA) announced the top 10 finalists who will compete to be Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year. The 2013 Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year will be announced at the NAHC Annual Meeting & Exposition on October 31 - November 3, 2013. The winner will join NAHC members and peers when the meeting convenes at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Washington, DC.

To view CARING Magazine article highlighting the 50 state winners, click here.

Read through the stories of caring and commitment below then follow the link at the end to vote for your choice:

Jacob Malouf

Southcentral Foundation Home Based Services in Anchorage, Alaska

Jake_Malouf2I’m Jacob Malouf and I’m quality improvement clinical coordinator at Southcentral Foundation Home Based Services. I began my career as a nurse, and I still visit patients because I’ve seen what an impact I can make. As my agency’s only male nurse, I was often assigned some of the toughest patients, including Frank. He was a 50-year-old paraplegic with multiple stage 4 infected decubitus ulcers, along with drug and alcohol problems. I treated his pressure ulcers and helped get him off alcohol and drugs. It’s such a joy to help someone heal both their body and soul, as I tell all the nurses I guide in my new role today.

Maribeth Gallagher

Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona

Maribeth_Gallagher_and_Margaret_NanceI’m Maribeth Gallagher, and I’m a nurse at Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the privilege to care for 98-year-old Margaret Nance, a retired nurse with end-stage dementia. Despite her cognitive problems and impaired speech, Margaret continued to teach indelible lessons well into her last days. She taught me that dementia can never silence a person’s heart and soul, though it steals their power of speech. At a time when medications could only make small improvements in her well-being, Maggie’s eyes would clearly speak of the pleasure she’d get when I recited the Lord’s Prayer, sang Amazing Grace, massaged her hands, offered her chocolate, or gave her a baby doll to hold while providing care. What an unexpected lesson to get from a fellow nurse that in this high-tech world the most fulfilling and effective care I can offer still centers around kindness and sharing of simple pleasures.

Cheryl Beene

Crittenden Regional Hospital Homecare in West Memphis, Arkansas

Beene_Crittenden_ARMy name is Cheryl Beene, and I am a nurse with Crittenden Regional Hospital Homecare in West Memphis, Arkansas. I have held many different positions within our agency over the years, but I have always continued to see home health patients. My passion is caring for elderly people, like Jewel Burns, who suffered from chronic heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. She lived alone with her puppy Cutie and her goal was to avoid placement in a nursing home or other institution. I helped her achieve this goal in the eight years that she was my patient. My agency provided her with physical therapy, nursing services, and education. Over time, she became very knowledgeable about her conditions, medications, and safety. At 95, she suffered a spontaneous fracture that led to her death, but her warm, independent spirit keeps her alive in my heart.

Daisy Briseno

Rescare Home Care in San Leandro, California

PhotoCAI’m Daisy Briseno and I’m a nurse at Rescare Home Care in San Leandro, California. My 59-year-old patient Robert Myers has a developmental delay and functions as an eight- to ten-year old. He is obese with hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, cellulitis, and a pacemaker. He used to call 911 several times per week when he felt anxious or short of breath. My challenge was to keep him out of the emergency room, and I tried several techniques. I finally succeeded by turning self-monitoring into a game and giving Robert a pocket calendar that included his doctor’s appointments and med list. That calendar became his pride and joy, so much so that he finally took his own meds, checked his blood pressure, monitored his blood sugar, and usually called me when he had concerns. In the past five months, he has only called 911 four times, so outcome achieved!


Corinne Sprain

Senior Home Care in Clearwater, Florida

Sprain_FLI’m Corinne Sprain, a nurse with Senior Home Care in Clearwater, Florida. My patient Elizabeth Young had a chronic wound that would not heal, as she learned from her physician. When Elizabeth told me this news she was very upset, but I urged her not to give up hope. As I continued to care for the wound, she began saying, “I believe it will heal because you are doing the wound care and your love will heal it.” They were words that gave me an idea, based on an experiment by a Japanese researcher who claimed consciousness affects health. So I began writing positive words, or love notes, on her dressings. In a few months Elizabeth’s wound was completely healed though there had been no other change in her care. It seems that positive thinking works wonders and words that come from the heart build people up.


Anne Marie Labenberg

Home Healthcare Associates in Ft. Wayne, Indiana

INMy name is Anne Marie Labenberg. I’m a nurse and the owner of Home Healthcare Associates in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. My goal is to provide client-centered care, based on the needs of private pay clients and their families. As a business owner, I ensure compliance with state laws and regulations, directly supervise 36 home health aides and four RNs, deliver training, and much more. In my role as a nurse, I serve as a patient advocate, develop care plans, and do all the supervisory visits. Some of them are to Gloria Jeppson, a 90-year-old patient with neurogenic bladder and chronic UTIs. Due to her complex conditions, Gloria’s health varies from day to day. Her children live outside the state, so they rely on me for advice on Gloria’s care. I enjoy our time together because she always smiles and says, “Thank God you’re here.”


Monica Susskind

Holyoke VNA and Hospice Life Care in Holyoke, Massachusetts

Photo2MAI’m Monica Susskind, and I’m a nurse at Holyoke VNA and Hospice Life Care in Holyoke, Massachusetts. My 62-year-old patient Jeremias Nazario has throat cancer, along with a history of stroke, and he is waiting for a liver transplant. I visit him three times each week to manage his pain and severe fatigue. I collaborate with a certified dietician because Mr. Nazario has lost a great deal of weight. I also work with a social worker because Mr. Nazario is depressed following the suicide of his son. I helped him and his wife through the grieving process and gave all the support I could to bring light and hope into their lives.


Dea Kuiper

VNA Homecare in Syracuse, New York

Kuiper1_NYI’m Dea Kuiper, and I’m a nurse at VNA Homecare in Syracuse, New York. My 10-year-old patient Fardowsa Suleiman had Eisenmenger’s Syndrome and weighed 63 pounds. She had respiratory problems, was oxygen dependent, and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after watching her parents killed in Somalia’s civil war. She had come here with her aunt, Sadya Dahir, seeking surgery or a heart/lung transplant. When I visited their humble home I saw a brave woman who cared deeply for her niece and a small girl who didn’t let suffering rob her spirit. I helped them by making sure Fardowsa was home schooled, bringing a fan to lessen the heat that aggravated her condition, and arranging for payment of the expenses incurred in running oxygen 24/7. Fardowsa couldn’t speak English, but she thanked me with smiles and touches of her hand. These gestures were evidence that the bond we built would transcend Fardowsa’s death.


Janet Randall

Cincinnati Children’s Home Services in Cincinnati, Ohio

Photo2OHMy name is Janet Randall, and I’m a private duty nurse with Cincinnati Children’s Home Services in Ohio. My three-year-old patient Scarlett Landefeld has spinal muscular atrophy type 1, but I treat her like she’s a regular little girl. We blow bubbles, bake cookies, sing, and have other kinds of fun. Her family members also join in and I encourage them to accept her the way she is. Her mind is unimpaired but her body is frail and recently she had such a bad respiratory infection that it wasn’t clear she would survive. She required respiratory treatment every two hours, and her mom was overwhelmed after two night shift nurses called in sick. The family was without help, so I offered to work night shifts though I usually work days. I’m glad I did because Scarlett’s feeling better and we look forward to celebrating her fourth birthday in June.


Sue Hjerpe

VNA of Rhode Island in Warwick, Rhode Island

Hjerpe_VNA_of_Rhode_Island_Hjerpe_Su_2I’m Sue Hjerpe and I’ve been a nurse at VNA of Rhode Island in Warwick for 33 years. My patient Judy Nunez is a 39-year-old mother of three who requires weekly assessments and treatment for non-healing wounds. She has a history of diabetes and foot ulcers, besides being legally blind. Judy’s problems with sight make it difficult for her to assess her wound status so we’ve been creative with wound care training, as we often have to be in home care. We’ve also taken steps to help Judy eat better since this busy mom often skips meals or ends up making the wrong choices. We arranged a joint visit with a Spanish interpreter to help Judy plan healthy, enjoyable meals, and we’re enjoying the results. Judy is now confident in her ability to be healthier and stay at home with her kids.




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