One out of every four hospice patients in the United States is a Veteran. These military Veterans have unique experiences and perspectives and, as patients of Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, we work with them and their families to create an equally unique plan of care for each of them.
Our team has been recognized for this as a We Honor Veterans Partner. We Honor Veterans is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs.
"Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care has recognized that veterans have a unique set of needs which is why our interdisciplinary team has special training to care for them holistically," says Crossroads Assistant Executive Director Megan Henson.
Veteran Plans of Care
Veterans who served during a time of war may face physical, psychological, and spiritual challenges related to their service at end of life. Each war has had it's own specific health challenges. Some occurring on the battlefield, while others were not apparent until years later.
PTSD is often seen in combat Veterans of all wars. At end of life, the horrors seen during and guilt over lives lost can come to the forefront of a Veteran's mind.
"Our team receives yearly specialized education regarding possible secondary diagnoses such as PTSD, moral injury, etc and how that impacts the veteran's end of life needs and experiences," shares Megan. "This is vital to assist and understand when discussing with the Veteran his/her service experiences."
Vet- to-Vet Volunteering
Veterans share a unique bond. You see it in their eyes the moment they meet. That common military experience allows them to discuss experiences they often don't share with others - even their own families.
"Our volunteer department actively recruits veteran volunteers so we can offer "vet to vet" volunteer placements," says Megan.
These Veteran volunteers take part in companionship visits, Veteran Recognition events, and special community events.
As Crossroads Vet-to-Vet Volunteer Frank Ashinhurst tells us, “It’s not a job. It’s a reward. They smile and are happy for the short time you’re there. It’s worth everything in the world to these Veterans who are dying. The stories they share you’ll never find in a history book.”
Veteran Recognition Program
A cornerstone of our Veteran plans of care is a Veteran Recognition Ceremony.
Crossroads Chaplain Jim Robinson explains, "Honoring Veterans goes beyond just saying "thank you for your service." We celebrate their service by blocking out a time that is just about their service to our country and invite their friends and family along to honor their sacrifice. Tokens of gratitude include a hat, medallion, certificate, cakes, flags, banners...but mostly our presence as we show them how special they are to us and for the generations to come."
Support for Veteran Families
Families are on the front lines of providing support for the Veterans in their life. Our emotional support team offers tips for families caring for Veterans. Our team is also prepared to help connect families to community resources and Veteran Affairs programs that they are eligible to participate in.
For more information on how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports Veterans and their families, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.
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