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Helping Veterans Navigate the End-of-Life Experience

Helping Veterans Navigate EOL Issues

Making Veterans Comfortable at the End of Life

Veterans facing terminal illness are up against a new experience.

At VITAS, we understand that each veteran is unique, but that veterans share a common experience regardless of when and where they served. The rigors of military training, the bonds developed among service members, long separations from family and loved ones, and the stress of combat are all part of the veteran’s experience. Whatever their experience, whether they served in active combat or not, sustained military trauma or not, our goal is to make sure every veteran patient near the end of life is comfortable, maintains their dignity and feels as safe as possible.

Honoring Veterans’ End-of-Life Needs

Veterans may exhibit certain clinical and psychosocial issues more often than other hospice patients. In some cases, symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) arise at the end of life. Sometimes other symptoms mimic those of PTSD including:

  • Traumatic recollections
  • Flashbacks
  • Hypervigilance
  • Hyperarousal and agitation
  • Nightmares

Veterans EOL We know the value of validating veterans’ emotional concerns. VITAS has the expertise to help patients and their families work through these issues. We respond appropriately to challenging clinical issues while placing patients’ feelings first.

Understanding Veteran Patients

Our hospice teams receive ongoing training to help them better understand and address the issues faced by veterans and their families. In addition, VITAS’ veteran volunteers play a valuable role, capable of listening, understanding and empathizing in ways even family members can’t.

While it’s never possible to change the past, it is possible to change a veteran’s relationship with it—and to make their end-of-life journey more peaceful.

To learn more about hospice care for veterans, call 866.791.2229.

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