Each year at our Annual Meeting, the Kansas Home Care & Hospice Association likes to recognize some of the special people in the home care and hospice industry. On September 19, 2019, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Lawrence, Kansas, KHCHA Executive Director, Jane Kelly; KHCHA Awards Committee Chair, Stan Sweeney; and KHCHA President, Terri Wahle, presented our 2019 awards as follows:
Kent ThompsonState Representative, District 9
This award honors an individual who serves in the KS state legislature or represents KS in the US Congress and who has demonstrated consistent leadership on legislative initiatives that advance and support the home health care and hospice industry and who has demonstrated active involvement with constituent agencies.
His nomination reads: “Rep. Thompson has been supportive of Medicaid expansion in Kansas from the beginning. As a matter of fact, per Dennis Franks, CEO of NMRMC, he believes Rep. Thompson was one of the first to support the expansion when it came up the last time and he has supported Medicaid expansion every since then.
"Rep. Thompson also talks with other legislator to try and make them understand how important expanding Medicaid is to not only hospitals but also many other organizations and to the economic growth of Kansas.
"Rep. Thompson has also been very supportive of making sure the health of Kansas residents is important and focuses on getting better.
"It is important to understand that being one of the early supportive Republican members for Medicaid expansion, he was definitely putting himself out there in the spotlight and we appreciate his strong drive and dedication to the health of Kansans."
Fonda La Frenz
Nurse PractitionerNortheast Kansas Multi-County HH & Hospice, Hiawatha, KS
This award honors a physician or nurse practitioner who excels in providing and utilizing home care, and who advocates for home care within the health care system.
Her nomination reads: “Fonda is a critical part of our team. She retired a few years ago from the local family practice but continued as a nurse practitioner for two different hospices. She has a passion for helping those at the end of life. Our staff knows we can contact her anytime we are in a pinch and need a provider's assistance. Weekends, holidays, evenings, she is available to lend a hand. She attends our IDT meetings and actively participates with out of the box ideas to meet our patients' needs. If we are stymied with managing a patient, she will make home visits to help us figure out a plan forward. Fonda will make home visits to those who are too ill to go to a clinic. Patients and families know that Fonda will be direct with them and give them the knowledge they need to make the right decisions for themselves. Even while dealing with her own health issues at times, there is no doubt she will continue to help those at end of life until she physically cannot. She bonds with some patients over shared aches and pains. Fonda La Frenz is a true hero and champion for those with serious disease in our community.
Olathe Health Hospice Care, Olathe, KS
This award is reserved for a friend of home care and hospice – someone not directly employed in the field, someone outside the home care and hospice agency arena and not an active board member.
Her nomination reads: “Jean is extremely selfless and goes the extra mile to care for our patients, families and staff. Jean is generous of her time and talents and will sacrifice so that others feel supported.
"Jean joined Olathe Health Hospice Care in May of 1996. In her 23-year tenure, she has held many volunteer roles. She was first an in-home companion, visiting with patients to relieve their isolation and providing respite to caregivers. If a patient enjoyed cooking, she would help them prepare meals. If they were an artist, she would buy supplies so that they could create masterpieces together. At one home, friends of the patient were soon stopping by during Jean's shifts, so that they could create art, too. The atmosphere was like a party.
"Being artistic herself, Jean enjoys making beautiful quilts for our patients. Since our Hospice House opened in 2014, she has been there, keeping our kitchen and common areas running smoothly. She also enjoys making bereavement calls to families, when she can provide a supportive presence and a listening ear. Her compassionate and friendly nature is a magnet to those around her. She is always asking “How can I help?” and staying late to finish tasks, to fully support those in need.
"In her 23 years of service, Jean has truly exemplified what it means to be a hero, and we feel blessed to have her as part of our team."
Any employee or owner of a KHCHA member home health or hospice agency who has retired or will be retiring from the industry in 2019.
Nemaha County HH & Hospice, Sabetha, KS
Any employee of a home health or hospice agency who in 2019 has reached a 5-year increment of service of 15 years or more (15, 20, 25, 30, etc.) in the home health or hospice industry.
Shirley Hitt, LMSW, Douglas County VNA, Lawrence, KS
Douglas County Visiting Nurses
In 1968, Marilyn (Lyn) Rothwell, RN, launched a vision to provide care to people in their homes. With the support of Dr. Ralph Reed, Fred Six, and innumerable others, her dream was realized after raising the necessary $5,000 matching funds to obtain a $20,000 Federal grant! Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association officially opened in February, 1969, with a small staff based at 342 Missouri In its first year, Visiting Nurses provided more than 2,600 visits to 89 patients.
In 1979, a steering committee was organized to develop a hospice agency in Douglas County. Based on that committee’s recommendation to the Visiting Nurses Board of Directors, a hospice program launched in August, 1981. In May, 2009, the agency added a private duty “Help at Home” program to complete a continuum of home care.
Through multiple payment models, five office location changes, and eight executives, Visiting Nurses continues to be a respected partner in the Lawrence/Douglas County healthcare community. Over the course of its 50-year history, across all programs, they have cared for more than 38,000 patients, providing nearly 1.6 million visits.
Last but not least, Douglas County Visiting Nurses Association is a charter member of this association.