VETERANS IN HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE
Fr Cesar (US Army Major & Veterans Coordinator)
Research has shown that veterans lag behind in hospice and palliative care compared to the non-veteran population despite facing basically the same issues related to old-age illness. A survey by medicare a decade ago shows that veterans who received hospice care only average to about 5 percent of the total hospice care recipient for any given year. For some veterans, their old-age illness issues are further complicated by service-connected injuries such as exposure to carcinogens during combat as such agent orange for those who served in combat in Vietnam.
Hospice care is available to everyone who is diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a life expectancy of six months or less. Veterans may also be eligible for an array of benefits that the Veteran Administration (VA) offers, but the veteran has to register to receive service first. This is something that many veterans are unaware of.
Some of the obstacles to receiving hospice care on the part of some veterans include a lack of awareness of the services offered by hospice agencies, or the misunderstanding that hospice care means giving up. Many hospice agencies such as HOPE Hospice, are aware of the challenges faced by veterans and have partnered with organizations such as the We Honor Veterans program and the VA so that we can serve our veteran patients effectively. Our staff receives regular training on how to care for veterans and is aware of the many medical, psychological, and spiritual issues faced by veterans. If you are a veteran or know of a veteran who might benefit from hospice, please contact us, and together, we will find a way to help.