Hospice program focuses on veterans

Resources, tools address special needs

More than 680,000 or 25% of all deaths in the United States each year are veterans. A new program provided by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs offers hospices resources and tools to honor patients' service and address the special needs of military veterans.

The resources of the program, We Honor Veterans, focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with veteran-centric education of staff caring for veterans.

Checklists and resources provide hospice staff with information that helps them understand the psychosocial, medical, and emotional needs that veterans may have that differ from patients with no military background. Information on ways to honor patients for their military service is also available.

Another part of the We Honor Veterans campaign provides 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.

To learn more about We Honor Veterans and to access the free resources, go to www.wehonorveterans.org.