2013 Awards of Excellence Winners

On May 23rd, Florida Hospice & Palliative Care Association (FHPCA) announced the 2013 winners of the annual Awards of Excellence in Hospice and Palliative Care.


The Awards of Excellence program was created to identify, recognize and showcase the outstanding and innovative work of individual staff members and hospice programs throughout the state of Florida. The Awards aim to provide a venue for hospice professionals to honor their peers and highlight the very best hospice has to offer.



  • Award of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Care: Elizabeth “Beth” Caldwell, RN, LifePath Hospice
  • Barbara Janosko Award of Excellence in Leadership: Mary Richt, RN, Hospice by the Sea
  • Award of Excellence in Program Innovation-Community Outreach: Grief and Loss Puppet Program, Gulfside Regional Hospice
  • Award of Excellence in Program Innovation-Clinical Practice: Aloesea Program, Hospice by the Sea
  • The Hospice Story Award: “An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Fred Mortensen, Hospice by the Sea
  • The Synergy Award: South African Partnership Committee, Suncoast Hospice


The Excellence in Interdisciplinary Care Award recognizes an individual hospice and palliative care professional who has attained outstanding achievements in the direct provision of care to patients and families.


Excellence in Interdisciplinary Care Award winner Beth Caldwell, Lifepath Hospice


The thing that truly sets Beth apart from other nurses is her patient care philosophy. Her approach—“If it’s not a problem for the patient, it’s not a problem for me; If it is a problem for the patient, it is a problem for me”—enables patients to gain a sense of control in the final leg of their life’s journey. Beth is able to meet every patient where they are—in squalor or affluence, in denial or acceptance—and walk with them there. It’s their life, their death. She is simply there to provide support and comfort along the way.




The Barbara Janosko Excellence In Leadership Award recognizes an individual in a midlevel management position whose work has promoted the advancement of excellence in hospice and palliative care.


 Paul Ledford, Executive Director of FHPCA & Barbara Janosko Award winner Mary Richt, Hospice of the Sea


Like Barbara Janosko, throughout her 19 year career in hospice and palliative care, Mary Richt has distinguished herself. At Hospice by the Sea, Inc., she is respected for her leadership abilities and sensitivity to the needs of practitioners, patients and families. During her tenure with the not-for-profit organization serving Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Mary has assumed a number of roles, progressively taking on more and more responsibility. Because of her proven management abilities and innovation, today, Mary is the Senior Director of Clinical Excellence and sets and example of exceptional service. Her foresight and creativity have helped her to achieve this respect. The four cornerstones of Hospice by the Sea are integrity, excellence, teamwork and accountability, and Mary Richt is the embodiment of all of them in everything that she does to promote the advancement of excellence in hospice and palliative care.




The Hospice Story Award recognizes a work of creative writing, either in prose or poem form.


 Paul Ledford, Executive Director of FHPCA and Hospice Story Award winner Fred Mortensen


Fred Mortensen, Spiritual Care Counselor at Hospice by the Sea, Inc. creatively employs storytelling to comfort, inspire, and console patients and family members every day. When asked to share a story that conveyed what the hospice experience means to him, Fred chose this tender and sensitive memory that beautifully recreates the love between two people. It conveys a strong and clear picture of the power of love and relationships, providing tremendous insight into the values and character of the man who tells the story. Fred views his involvement with this couple facing life’s greatest challenge as a gift he received from them. They affirmed for him that it is possible to reach this crossroads of life in hospice care, and yet remain spiritually and emotionally healthy while remaining true to yourself. They no longer may be in Fred’s life, but these lovers remain in his heart and, now, in ours.




The Synergy Award recognizes a group of people in any role or configuration that has consistently demonstrated the ideals of collaboration and teamwork in working toward a goal or mission.


Linda Ward, FHPCA President and President/CEO of Gulfside Regional Hospice & Synergy Award winner Stacy Orloff, Suncoast Hospice


The South African Partnership committee was formed to support the efforts of the Suncoast Hospice alliance with Hospice Association of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and Soweto, South Africa. The partnership was formed in 2001 and has built momentum every step of the way including receiving the inaugural global partner award from FHSSA in 2011 recognizing outstanding partnership efforts to improve palliative care in South Africa.

Building a sustainable partnership is not easy and many challenges surfaces along the way. The partnership committee has worked tirelessly and diligently to keep our sister hospice at the fore-front of our initiatives and sustainable.

The immense pride our partnership team feels about our South African partnership has easily translated into making a difference to our own Suncoast Hospice patients and families. They are a testament to how a passionate team can make a difference well beyond its stated mission.




The Excellence in Program Innovation- Community Outreach Awards are presented to hospice and palliative care programs which demonstrate dynamic innovations or special initiatives.



Top – Kelly Cavagnetto and  Ashley Monteath, Children’s Activity Coordinators, Gulfside Regional Hospice – Award of Excellence in Program Innovation-Community Outreach: Grief and Loss Puppet Program, Gulfside Regional Hospice

Bottom – Linda Ward, FHPCA President and President/CEO of Gulfside Regional Hospice, Paul Ledford, Executive Director of FHPCA, Aloesea Program, Hospice by the Sea, and Rob Goodsell, Home Healthcare Solutions (award sponsor)


Our inspiration for the Grief and Loss Puppet Shows was inspired by an acknowledgment of need due to the many phone calls we were receiving from Pasco County for children’s bereavement counseling and education. We wanted to help the children acknowledge their grief and learn coping skills to deal with the loss, in a healthy and socially acceptable way. We made contact with the elementary schools to explain the program, selected a grief and loss play to perform, created a puppet show screen and trained two Bereavement counselors and some volunteers. We secured some beanie babies as comfort pals for the children and schedule the shows with the schools. Our statistics have risen every year since we began the program in the schools in 2006. The demand is greater than we can respond to each year but we make an effort to provide the show to a few new schools each year. The number of children we reached in 2011-12 was 1400. We learn through our surveys how we can improve the presentation and the impact it has on the kids. The classrooms now can discuss death without fear, children can cry without feeling odd, and they can understand their own feelings and acknowledge their pain without the need to “act out.” Children and teachers are more sensitive to each other and their peers. Implications: We live in a death denying society. The only way we can make a change so that society’s children can respond to loss with a healthy and natural approach is to educate and provide creative programs to the school system and other settings that create a safe and compassionate environment for the children to share feelings of loss, disappointment and sadness. Hospices can lead the way.




About the Awards of Excellence Selection Process:
Nominations are judged by a selection committee composed of leaders within the hospice industry. The selection committee considered examples and specific details that demonstrate how nominees have exceeded expectations and, by their actions, made those around them better. Nominees do not compete against each other; rather they are judged individually against a high standard of excellence and innovation.