Hospice Caregiver Spotlight Winners

Shining a Light on Care in Austin

Chad Noyes
Three Oaks Hospice, Q1 2021

Nominated by Jackie and Brenda Pittman:

There are not enough words to express how caring Chad is. He was always in constant contact with us to keep us abreast of Mom’s health every time he visited, which was always so comforting. At the end of Mom’s life he even made sure when he was off from work he had another nurse taking care of her and made sure they contacted us about Mom’s condition too. 

Here are some of the attributes of Chad’s character – quiet, gentle, kind, loving, always cheerful, listened to Mom’s concerns and made sure she understood what was going on, etc. He was honest in his assessment of Mom’s health. He “ministered” to us and always asked how we were doing. Mom called Chad her “Angel in a Baseball Cap”. We all are blessed to know him and to be with us on this journey.

Angela Boaen
Texas Home Health Hospice, Q4 2020

Nominated byGayle Newcomer:
Angela does an amazing job with all of her patients. She treats them with dignity and sincerity. I have no concern for our patients when Angela is at the home. I’m proud to work with her. When notified of the nomination, Angela said “I love helping people and can’t imagine doing anything else. That is what God made me to do.” Thank you Angela, for all the incredible work you do!

Radhika Nayak
Hospice Austin, Q3 2020

Nominated by David Baxter:
Reasons: Radhika was no stranger to our family when she was assigned Rose as one of her patients in Hospice Austin’s Palliative Care program – she had been our next-door neighbor for several years and the neighbor known as Aunt Rose had watched Radhika’s young family grow. But in late summer 2020 it came time for Radhika the professional to manage Rose’s transition from patient receiving new and promising care for hereditary amyloidosis to patient who realized her treatment was not working and that her heart continued to weaken.  Rose’s physician and nurses at Austin Heart Hospital agreed her treatments had come too late and that it was time for palliative care. As concerned as the Heart Hospital staff might be, it was up to Radhika to come to Rose and shepherd her from promising treatment into palliative care – that care intended to help people manage the symptoms of a serious illness, to make them comfortable and extend their days a bit longer. And Radhika, like all other health-care professionals, had to do this in the time of Covid.

Aside from medication and other treatments, Radhika encouraged Rose to set herself goals, how she aimed to use her remaining time. Rose intended to vote in the November 2020 elections — alas. We had been quarantined for weeks, but Radhika urged us to have small groups of Rose’s family come visit, if just for an hour. Having family near — people Rose had not seen in months– was more therapeutic than any medication or treatment. For many it would be the last time Rose’s loved ones would have a chance to see her. The visits gave everyone some kind of closure: remembering years gone by with cousins her own age, hearing first hand from nephews, nieces and their children how much Easter and Christmas Eve family parties at Aunt Rose’s had meant to them. Understanding and recognizing the need for family contact was the most palliative of all of Radhika’s care for Rose.

Paula Pratte
Hospice Austin, Q2 2020

Nominated by David Baxter:
A certain of level of medical expertise is expected and demanded of every nurse working at Hospice Austin, but a nurse who could tend to Rose’s spiritual needs as well as her medical needs was unexpected. Paula and Rose were both long-time members of St. Austin’s Catholic Church just west of the UT campus. Paula was in the choir and Rose served in many volunteer roles on the both the Parish Council and as St. Austin’s School President. From one Catholic girl to another, Paula recognized what Rose really needed at this point in her life, which Paula knew to be just a week or so. She needed the peace that comes from knowing that Aunt Rose was leaving her family loved and that her family knew how much she loved them. The meds to strengthen an irreparably weakened heart were superfluous and Rose and Paula agreed it was time to gradually step them down. But perhaps Rose was just tired of it all, for she began to quickly fade. Paula recognized it was time to summon Father Kullmann, their longtime St. Austin’s Parish Pastor.

Rose spoke only a few words in her final hours, and those to thank Fr. Kullmann that afternoon for his prayers and blessings. Paula said Rose probably would not last the night and that we should stay close. She was right: Rose slipped away that evening with her son holding her hand. How important was that final spiritual visit to help Rose peacefully and gracefully leave this life? It probably was as important to Rose as all our modern medications combined; it took someone as intuitive and caring as Paula to understand that.

Alex Robinson
Silverado Hospice, Q1 2020

Nominated by Martha Pinto:
Alex showed such interest and compassion for our mother, Lucy Goldsmith, during her time at Silverado Onion Creek. He even found musical tapes from her old group, Houston Folklore Society, for her to listen to.

He helped to get her headphones so that she could hear better and take part in more activities. He was always so good to call us and update the family frequently. We are forever grateful for all of his kindness to our mother in her last days!

Do you know a caregiver who is making a difference?

It takes a special person to come beside families as their loved one comes to the closing of their life. Harrell Funeral Home created the Hospice Caregiver Spotlight Award as a way to recognize dedicated Hospice individuals who are truly going above and beyond with selfless devotion to others.

We enjoy hearing stories from families expressing gratitude for their hospice worker’s: gentle touch, compassionate smile, generous heart, encouraging words, or contagious joy.

Click the button below to nominate a caregiver for next quarter!

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