No matter their age, our Veterans deserve a hero’s welcome home.
We lose about two thousand Veterans in the U.S. every day. In fact, our Vets account for nearly a quarter of all U.S. deaths. Sadly, a majority of these men and women are not enrolled in Veterans’ Affairs and, therefore, may not be aware of special end-of-life services and benefits available to them.
That’s where Hospice comes in. We Honor Veterans is a national awareness and action campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to encourage partnerships between community hospices, state hospice organizations and VA facilities. The goal of the program is to provide the best possible care for Veterans, in a way that recognizes their service and the unique needs they may have.
Military service often leaves an indelible mark on the brave men and women who have served. Those life-altering experiences can present unique challenges for Veterans as they approach the end of life. Partners in the We Honor Veterans program create individualized care plans that address those challenges by honoring one’s military service. When a Hospice patient has been identified as a Veteran, Hospice and the VA will conduct a ceremony recognizing and honoring his or her service. The honored Veteran will be presented with a certificate of recognition and thanks, a We Honor Veterans collar pin, and a wallet card.
We Honor Veterans is a perfect fit for Hospice volunteers who may be Veterans themselves. Not only can these volunteers provide valuable assistance during ceremonies to honor our Veterans, they can support local medical care and extended stay facilities where Veterans may be receiving care. Veteran volunteers are uniquely qualified to discuss patients’ military service in a sensitive, knowledgeable manner, and can help caregivers better understand what the patient may need. These volunteers also have the opportunity to partner with local Veterans’ groups to provide community education and connect Vets with services and resources available to them. In addition, they can help recruit and train other volunteers who are Veterans. Volunteers will receive specialized training in grief support, assessment and coping with trauma and bereavement.
Hospice of Northwest Michigan is an active, level 3 partner in the We Honor Veterans program. We also are a commemorative partner with the US Department of Defense in the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. This commitment to our veteran population allows us to at every opportunity find a way to thank, honor and acknowledge all veterans service and sacrifice. For more information, call (231) 547-7659 or visit www.hospicenwm.org. You can also visit the We Honor Veterans program online at www.WeHonorVeterans.org or The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration at www.vietnamwar50th.com .
You have a choice. If you or your loved one have served in the military, be sure to choose a hospice that considers our Veterans to be heroes, who understands their needs, and who treats them with the utmost dignity while honors their service.