Prairie Lakes Healthcare System's hospice coordinator, Delrita Hopper, RN, was honored with the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations’ (SDAHO) Distinguished Service Award – Health Care Hero of 2013 at a reception held at the SDAHO Annual Convention in Sioux Falls on September 19. In her presentation, hospice director, Kelly Heesch, RN, highlighted the fact that Hopper is not only an intelligent, kind, compassionate and passionate hospice nurse, but she is also a beautiful human being.
Don’t let Hopper’s petite 4’11” stature fool you, she has amazing inner strength and the ability to provide for and educate others in the care of the sick and terminally ill. At age 67, Hopper has spent a lifetime caring for people in difficult situations. She herself, learned from experience losing her husband Nick to colon cancer at the age of 38 leaving her to raise 4 young children alone.
Heesch said, “Upon the inception of Prairie Lakes Hospice, Hopper was persuaded to join the staff, her passion was ignited and the rest is history. So many lives have been touched and forever changed by this little woman who does everything in her power to provide comfort and understanding, and to teach patients and their families about death and dying.” Hopper is known as a “go to resource” in the Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in the area of pain management for terminally ill patients.
“Hopper encompasses the statement, the art and science of nursing. Not only does she make herself available to staff, physicians, patients and caregivers, she continues to give of herself in all of the little ways a caring person does. She’s able to connect with patients and their families helping them make the best decisions while experiencing challenging situations,” said Heesch.
The Health Care Hero Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of a health care provider in the state of South Dakota. The award was started in 2012 to acknowledge an individual caregiver that goes far beyond what their job description requires. Nominations are accepted from any SDAHO member for this Distinguished Service Award.
SDAHO represents 54 hospitals and 33 long-term care facilities across the state. SDAHO is a unified voice for the continuum of care provided by community-based health care in South Dakota on a state and federal level. Over 800 health care providers attended the convention representing administration, governance and 18 affiliated health care professional membership societies. Numerous health care issues were discussed including quality of care initiatives, patient safety, advocacy, leadership and healthcare reform and the implications it brings for South Dakota.