Honoring Veterans at the End of Life
Several years ago Family LifeCare realized that our Veterans require special care and support at the end of life. Recognizing these unique needs of America’s Veterans and their families, we have made a commitment to pursue Veteran-centric educational activities and to support strategic partnerships with community Veteran programs to improve quality and increase capacity to serve Veterans.
Once a patient has been identified as a Veteran upon admission to Family Hospice, we establish the branch and period of service, war experience, and VA involvement. All of this information with additional input from the Veteran and the family help create a more responsive plan of care for the patient. Our team has been trained to understand the various implications of the Veteran’s military experience. They also have knowledge with service related diseases, illnesses and conditions unique to the varied military eras.
One out of every four dying American is a Veteran. In the nation, there are 153 VA medical centers in comparison to over 4,500 hospice providers. It is not surprising that only 4% of Veteran deaths will occur in VA inpatient settings. Therefore, it is imperative that we partner with the VA team to become skilled at how to best meet the needs of our Veterans and their loved ones.
In 2011, Family LifeCare became a We Honor Veterans partner. We Honor Veterans is a national hospice provider awareness campaign conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our organization is also a founding member of the Indiana Hospice Veterans Partnership, in which educational and collaborative projects are created to enhance end-of-life care to our Indiana Veterans.
Family LifeCare pays their respects to the Veteran patients at the time of death through the Honor Blanket program. When the nurse is called at the death to prepare the Veteran’s body, the Honor Blanket, which is a replica of the American Flag, is draped over the Veteran symbolizing our appreciation for their sacrifices. The Honor Blanket is displayed at the funeral home and then presented to the family as a keepsake.