(NHPCO, Alexandria, VA) – It surprises many Americans to learn that 25 percent of all deaths in the US are Veterans. That’s 1,800 people a day; more than 680,000 Veterans every year. These heroic Americans deserve recognition for their military service – particularly at the end of life’s journey. A new resource will help healthcare professionals honor our Veterans.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is launching We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign to help improve the care Veterans receive from hospice and palliative care providers.
By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, hospice and palliative care providers will be able to accompany and guide America’s Veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending. And in cases where there might be some specific needs, related to the Veteran’s military service, combat experience or other traumatic events, providers will find tools to help support those they are caring for.
The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with Veteran-centric education of staff caring for Veterans.
“All hospices are serving Veterans but often aren’t aware of that person’s service in the armed forces,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO. “Through We Honor Veterans we are taking a giant step forward in helping hospice and palliative care providers understand and serve Veterans at the end of life and work more effectively with VA medical facilities in their communities.”
Remarked Thomas Edes, VA Director of Home and Community Based Care “The VA shares a common goal with our nation’s hospices, and that is to provide the best possible care specifically tailored for Veterans, meeting their goals of care in their preferred setting. As we focus on working together and unite our services and skills, We Honor Veterans will channel our combined strengths directly to Veterans - wherever they are receiving care.”
“America’s Veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. Now it is time that we step up, acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve,” added Schumacher.
A newly launched website, wehonorveterans.org, provides hospice and palliative care providers, state hospice organizations, and Hospice Veteran Partnerships with tools and resources that will encourage them to:
- Learn more about caring for Veterans;
- Declare a commitment to honoring Veterans at the end of life;
- Partner with VA at the local, regional and national level;
- Assess their current ability to serve Veterans;
- Provide education for hospice staff and volunteers;
- Measure quality and outcomes for continued improvement.
The We Honor Veterans campaign will provide tiered recognition to organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for Veterans. These “Partners” will assess their ability to serve Veterans and, using resources provided as part of the campaign, integrate best practices for providing end-of-life care to Veterans into their organization.
As Americans prepare to honor our nation’s heroes on Veterans Day, November 11, and pay tribute to the men and women who have served our country, NHPCO and the VA are proud to make this new resource available.
To learn more about We Honor Veterans or to support this important work, please visit wehonorveterans.org.
Jon Radulovic, 703-837-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Duncan, 703-837-3145 or email@example.com