Serving Those Who Served their Country At The End Of Life

May and Marie Alm both US Army RNs 4C

May and Marie Alm both US Army RNs 4C

Past military service profoundly affects America’s military veterans as they age and creates unique clinical, psychological and spiritual issues as they approach the ends of their lives, research shows. Healthcare experts agree it is critical for their endof- life care providers to understand, anticipate and address these needs.

As America’s leading hospice provider since 1978, VITAS has developed award-winning programs to provide veterans with the care and support they need. Our specially  trained staff members and volunteers work daily to honor veterans’ preferences for care at the end of life and ensure they receive the respect, recognition for their service, comfort and compassion they deserve.

With more than 1,000 veterans dying in the U.S. every day, it is critical for hospice providers to offer the specialized care that veterans need and show our appreciation for the sacrifices they made for our country.

VITAS Veteran Liaisons work closely with the Veterans Administration (VA), Medicare, Medicaid and other local organizations toward that goal. When admitting patients to the hospice program, VITAS conducts a special assessment for every veteran patient to determine the specific level of support they need and provide customized care.

“Twenty-five percent of our patients are veterans both locally and nationally,” said Myra Williams, Community and Veteran Liaison for VITAS of Collier County. “Hospices with special programs to identify their veteran patients and gather information about their military history are much better equipped to address many of the unique clinical, emotional and spiritual issues that invariably result from their experiences serving our country.”

As part of our commitment to veterans, we work closely with other veterans’ organizations. This includes:

• Sponsoring Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive, the Tuskegee Airmen

and Honor Flight, which all work to celebrate and honor veterans

• Participating in the Veterans History Project, which seeks to

record and document a living legacy of veterans’ stories that are

archived at the Library of Congress as living legacy

“It may be difficult for those who are not veterans to understand why these programs are important for veterans because it might not seem like much, but veterans really need to make peace with their military experience,” Williams said. “They just want someone to recognize their service and sacrifices and it is indeed a sacred honor for us to provide this service they so deserve.”

VitasPhoto(s) courtesy of VITAS Innovative Hospice Care

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