Home Care Hero Awards

Nominate a Peer for Home Care Employee of the Year!

OAHC is now accepting nominations for its annual Hope Runnels and Home Care Employee of the Year Awards. Nominate those who demonstrate outstanding service in home care. Recognize and honor your peers for all the wonderful work they do on behalf of home care. Awards will be presented during the awards luncheon on June 2nd at the Annual Conference in Redmond, Oregon. Nominations are due May 12, 2023. 

Nomination Submissions Closed!


 2022 Award Winners  |  Award Categories

 2023 Hope Runnel's Award

Kerry Joyce, RN, MSN
Bay Area Hospital Home Health

Excellence in Patient Care
Kerry is a patient advocate. She looks for ways to provide safe environments for employees who have very little to no control over their working environment while providing skilled care to some of the most difficult and complex patients in our rural communities. She is willing to make difficult calls to all customers to find solutions that are satisfactory to the customer and the agency as a whole. She makes the calls to the physicians and non-physician providers who need further understanding of what Home Health is able to do. She takes the opportunity to share what the vision of home health is and how home health can benefit the patient as well as accomplish goals of the physician. Those difficult calls to families caregivers and patients become productive problem solving and comes up with new solutions by reaching out for more knowledge, solutions, and out of the box ideas to pave the way for the development of new best practices.

Excellence in Teamwork
Kerry supports excellence in teamwork from all members of the team. The patient, the physician, the skilled clinicians, the support staff, and the patient and all their support team and/or support team in development are emphasized as strong components of the team. Kerry reaches out to the referral resources and other potential customers to instruct them on how Home health decreases readmissions to the hospital and improves overall care and health. She educates all that even the littlest improvements made in patient or caregiver compliance and health literacy assist in promoting prevention and early intervention in medical care so that emergency or complex situations are minimized, decreasing the risk of harm to the patient. She puts her heart and soul into making sure that all in the team feel supported. She makes herself available to all who are in need and is not afraid to develop new processes and methods to reach beyond the goals of all.

Excellence in Supporting Their Organization
Kerry is progressive in her leadership style. Progressive is defined by Merriam Webster as "of, relating to, or characterized by progress" "making use of or interested in new ideas, findings, or opportunities," "of, relating to, or constituting an educational theory marked by an emphasis on the individual child, informality of classroom procedure, and encouragement of self-expression," and "moving forward or onward: ADVANCING" Kerry is prepared to learn and progress the agency as she stepped into the manager position with little understanding of the inner workings of home health. Unexpectedly, she was placed into the position of Agency Director which was just as foreign with an additional and larger skill set to learn. She had the ability to learn and lead. She knew she would need the support of the agency clinicians and support staff to succeed. She has led the agency's transition to OASIS E and has prepared for reimbursement and new agency EMR challenges.

Excellence in Dedication to Their Profession

Kerry has developed communications with other leaders throughout the state to share ideas and gain continued knowledge for success. She taught at the college prior to coming into position as Clinical Manager. She has sought out colleges that have nursing and physical therapy programs to advocate for rural clinical experiences. They have new knowledge and appreciation for home health through her invitation to mentor students in home health to provide them with quality community experience. She encourages every employee within the agency to further their knowledge and expertise and to apply their new skills to their positions or positions they may aspire to. She has promoted advancement and improvement in processes and has pioneered new methods to accomplish better care, efficiency, and agency health with our new EMR, new team members, and the development of new best practices. She is our rainbow, sunshine, and sparkles of Bay Area Hospital Home Health Agency.

Congratulations to our 2023 Award Recipients!

President's Award - Shaune Mattsson, RN, MBA
Providence Home & Community Care



Nurse of the Year - Elise Parsons, RN, CWON
Coastal Home Health & Hospice

"Elise possesses a wealth of knowledge in wound care management and utilizes evidence-based practices to provide the best possible care. She also has excellent communication skills, ensuring that patients fully understand their condition and the necessary steps for recovery. I have seen firsthand the positive outcomes of their care, and I am confident that any patient under her care will receive the utmost attention and professionalism."

Therapist of the Year - Kyle Sultzer, PT
Signature Healthcare At Home

"Kyle Sultzer is an inspiring home health physical therapist. Kyle is holistic in his approach to patient care and while his focus is on physical function he is willing to address the patient and/or the situation as a whole. Kyle has assisted patients with coordinating medical visits, has researched community resources and does not shy away from challenging situations. He is willing to stick to it and will make extra calls and go the extra mile to assure patient safety whenever possible. He is regularly asking what he can do to help and often volunteers to be the person to have that challenging conversation with a patient or family. Kyle remains cheerful and professional regardless of the situation."

Support Staff of the Year - Shauna Brown
Signature Healthcare at Home

"As the Operations Manager Shauna has been the only office staff for the last 2 years and as the only office person Shauna wears many hats - from receptionist to payroll to intake and scheduling and is even our superuser for the EMR system. This means she has to be flexible and can change hats at a moment's notice - sometimes wearing 2-3 hats at a time. Shauna is the go-to person in the office, and she is always available to answer a question and no matter what she is doing will stop and give you her full attention"

Home Health Aide of the Year - Christie Weigart
Kaiser Home Health

"Christie is the living embodiment of compassionate care. In a profession where patients are at their most vulnerable bathing with a stranger, Christie seeks to create an environment free of judgement. She uses humor and compassion to execute her work. She creates professional but caring relationships with some of our clients and remembers their preferences, their fears, and their needs."


MSW of the Year - Rachelle Preston, MSW, LCSW
Kaiser Home Health

"Rachelle consistently goes above and biting to ensure her patients receive excellent care. She provides knowledgeable, patient focused and empathic care to our most fragile populations. Her dedication to ensuring patient wellness and success is unmatched."

Physician of the Year - Dr. Patrick Tandingan
Sacred Heart Hospice

"In 2009, Dr. Patrick Tandingan became the Hospice Medical Director for Sacred Heart Hospice. Our agency became the only hospice agency with Hospice and Palliative Care Certified physicians within our community. Throughout these years of service, Dr. Patrick has promoted excellent patient care that focuses on solid pain and symptom management, high quality scores, educated nursing support for exemplary patient care resulting in high family satisfaction results. Over the past three years while working through a pandemic, Dr. Patrick continued to advocate for the same in-person patient care that hospice supports during non-covid times, recognizing that during a pandemic patients and families are even more isolated and challenged and no less frightened of the journey they are moving through."

2022 Award Recipients
Hope Runnel's Award - Molly Rhea, Pioneer Memorial Home Health & Hospice
President's Award - Brandy Sweet, OAHC
Nurse of the Year - Kelly Conrad, Bay Area Hospital Home Health
Therapist of the Year - Katie Roof, Visiting Health Services
Support Staff of the Year - Jordan Raebel, Kaiser Permanente
Physician of the Year - none given
Chaplain of the Year - Jerry Conklin, Pioneer Memorial Home Health & Hospice
MSW of the Year - none given
Home Health Aide of the Year - Katilyn Zinter, Pioneer Memorial Home Health & Hospice
Volunteer of the Year - Jacqueline Alleman, Pioneer Memorial Home Health & Hospice
Hospice Coordinator of the Yearnone given

Annual Award Categories

Home Care Employees

Nurse of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to the registered nurse or licensed practical nurse whose direct patient care service is exemplary.

Therapist of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to an occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist or a medical social worker that provides direct patient care service in an outstanding manner. Other therapy categories may also be included.

Home Health Aide of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to the home health aide whose direct patient care service is exemplary.

Support Staff of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a support staff person, such as medical records or health information personnel, receptionist, customer service staff or an assistant who stands out beyond all others.

Volunteer of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a volunteer who gives unconditionally of him or herself.

MSW of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a medical social worker that provides direct patient care services in an outstanding manner.

Physician of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a physician whose direct patient care service is exemplary.

Chaplain of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a chaplain in the hospice field whose direct patient and family service is exemplary.

Hospice Coordinator of the Year:
This award shall be open to all membership for nomination and shall be given to a hospice coordinator person, such as volunteer coordinator or bereavement coordinator, who stands out beyond all others.

Leadership Awards

Hope Runnels Award:
The Hope Runnels award was created in 1980 in honor of Faith “Hope” Runnels. Hope devoted much of her life to building the home health care industry in Oregon and was a co-founder of OAHC. Hope was one of 57,000 nurses to be awarded a Bronze Star for valor in combat during World War II. She was the 14-year executive director of the Visiting Nurse Association and was instrumental in the development of Portland’s first hospice program. Hope Runnels passed away in July of 2001, but her lasting legacy as a powerful force in home care will forever live in the embodiment of this award. 

This award shall be open to the OAHC membership for the nomination of an individual in a management role who demonstrates outstanding leadership, service and achievement as a pioneer in furthering the scope of home health services in Oregon.

President's Award:
This award is given to an individual for outstanding contribution to the home care community and the Oregon Association for Home Care.

Legislative Award:
The purpose of this award is to recognize effective advocacy and leadership in furthering the interests of home care and hospice in the legislative arena (either state or federal).

Any work that either introduces, supports or educates legislative bodies on the needs/interests of the home care and hospice industry (I.e. Introduction of legislation; legislation co-sponsorship; serve on a committee that affects the outcomes of bills / legislative activities; lobby elected officials to support legislation related to home care).

Eligible awardees may be:
*State or Federal elected officials such as Representatives, Senators, Mayors, Governors, etc.
*Employees working in the home care field,
*Volunteers, patients and / or families who utilize and support home care services.