On November 11, Americans across the country will celebrate Veterans Day, showing appreciation and thanks for the sacrifices our military Veterans have made for this country.
As the nation honors these American heroes for their military service, it is important to remember they also deserve recognition and compassionate care when dealing with serious illness and end-of-life issues.
A generation of World War II and Korean Veterans are now facing end-of-life care decisions, and Vietnam War Veterans are not far behind. And in years to come, those who have served in the Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) will need care as well. What our nation’s Veterans experienced in their respective wars is unique, and so should the care they receive at end-of-life.
“We Honor Veterans” is a pioneering campaign developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The programs assists health care providers throughout the country learn how to better care for patients with military service by recognizing the challenges they may be facing. The resources provided by “We Honor Veterans” focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgement which is coupled with Veteran-centered education for health care staff and volunteers.
Participating agencies educate their staff and volunteers about the differences of each war and the unique experiences and complications to the Veterans who served in them. The goal of the program is to better guide Veterans and their families toward a better health outcome or more peaceful end-of-life journey. For Veterans who experienced combat service or other trauma, this knowledge and sensitivity can be particularly important as experience from the past may resurface during a serious illness.
As part of the We Honor Veterans program, partner organizations assess their ability to serve Veterans, and using provided resources, integrate best practices for providing quality care to their Veteran patients. Organizations participating in the program work their way through four levels of distinction which are awarded based on the organizations involvement with Veteran education and interaction with their Veteran patients and their families.
Honoring our Veterans is something we should do every single day, not just November 11, and this includes supporting them throughout their entire lives. Programs like “We Honor Veterans” help to do just that. To learn more about the “We Honor Veterans” program, please visit WeHonorVeterans.org.
Since 2013, SSM Health at Home - Hospice has been a “We Honor Veterans” partner organization and has reached the highest level of distinction the program offers, a Level Four Program Participant.
SSM Health at Home is a nonprofit agency providing home health, palliative care, hospice, and home infusion pharmacy services. Have questions about the “We Honor Veterans” program or home health care in general? We can help. For more information, call 877-501-2273 or visit SSMHealthAtHome.com
Become a Veteran Volunteer
Volunteers are essential to hospice programs across the country and SSM Health at Home – Hospice is no different. Military Veterans are part of a distinct culture with their own common language and experience. Many Veterans receiving SSM Health at Home – Hospice services wish to be connected with a volunteer who is also a Veteran. If you are a military Veteran interested in volunteering with our hospice program, you can provide so much support just by offering a few hours of your time and your companionship. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 618-899-1660 or visit SSMHealthAtHome.com
for more information.
Not a Veteran, but still interested in volunteering
, please contact us or visit our website. We offer trainings throughout the year.