‘We Honor Veterans’ Program Targets Vets in Community-Based Care

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
Program Targets Vets in Community-Based Care

The graying of America also is hitting the nation’s Veterans Affairs facilities, where vets who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam have reached their 70s or older.

According to a story from NPR, more veterans are dying in hospice care than in all VA trauma and ICU wards combined, underscoring the need for hospice programs that specifically target vets. However, the vast majority of veterans who receive hospice care are doing so in hospice programs other than those run by the VA.

Dr. Scott Shreve, who oversees VA hospice care, noted in the story that all VA facilities have a palliative care team but that only a fraction enter VA hospice. This presents a significant opportunity for community-based hospice programs and other facilities that care for veterans.

Many veterans have been in conflict and seen first-hand the horrors of war. They may have seen their buddies die, suffered post-traumatic stress or even have killed someone. Their needs – especially at life’s end when these events can still cause conflict – are unique but must be dealt with thoughtfully and compassionately.

That’s why the VA and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization have teamed up on a project called We Honor Veterans. Originally designed to help civilian hospice workers ask the right questions, the program has been extended to other community-based health organizations that provide direct care to seriously ill veterans and their families.

In addition to hospice organizations, partners may include home health agencies, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and others. According to the program website, We Honor Veterans provides educational tools and resources to:

  • Promote veteran-centric educational activities
  • Increase organizational capacity to serve veterans
  • Support development of strategic partnerships
  • Increase access and improve quality

Participating in the We Honor Veterans program could be a win-win for your organization, using your skilled staff to provide VA hospice care to a cherished subset of the population.

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