Hospice and Palliative Care for Veterans
It surprises many Americans to learn that 25 percent of all deaths in the U.S. are Veterans. That’s 1,800 people a day; more than 680,000 Veteran deaths every year. As the nation honors these American heroes for their military service on Veterans Day, November 11, it’s important to remember that they also deserve recognition and compassionate care at the end of life’s journey.
An innovative program, We Honor Veterans, is helping healthcare professionals honor our Veterans.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs launched We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign to help improve the care dying Veterans receive from the nation’s hospice and palliative care providers.
By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who may face a life-limiting illness, hospice and palliative care providers are able to accompany and guide these men and women towards a more peaceful ending. For Veterans who experienced combat service or other trauma, this can be particularly important as experiences from the past may resurface at the end of life.
“All hospices are serving Veterans but often aren’t aware of that person’s service in the armed forces. Through We Honor Veterans, we are taking a giant step forward in helping hospice and palliative care professionals and volunteers understand and serve Veterans at the end of life,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “It is time that we step up and acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve.”
More than 1,000 hospice organizations across the country have joined We Honor Veterans and are increasing their skills and capacity for serving Veterans. Activities range from utilizing a military history checklist at admission, recognition events like pinning ceremonies and certificate presentations, to outreach to other community organizations.
Additionally, WHV is helping hospices work more effectively with VA medical facilities in their communities.
As we celebrate our nation’s heroes this Veterans Day – and every day of the year – we must not forget that it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home.