Veterans Care: Serving Those Who Served Our Nation
VITAS honors those who served America by serving them near the end of life. VITAS cares for veterans with a wide range of terminal conditions; our teams of experienced hospice professionals are trained to understand the veteran’s unique needs at the end of life.
According to the US Census Bureau, we have an estimated 22 million veterans living among us in the United States. Veterans make up one-fourth of all deaths today; that’s 617,000 per year.
By recognizing the unique needs of veterans coping with life-limiting illness, VITAS is able to guide these men and women toward a more peaceful ending. This is especially important for veterans who experienced combat service or other trauma, because experiences from the past often resurface near the end of life.
We Honor Veterans participation
We Honor Veterans is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This pioneering program focuses on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgment of veterans. VITAS’ continued dedication towards veterans has reached the highest level of partnership, Level Four, which includes the following requirements:
Staff and Volunteer Education and Programs:
VITAS Nurses are ELNEC-For Veterans trained and VITAS staff are specially trained in recognizing and caring for patients with PTSD. VITAS also offers a Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer program.
VITAS conducts Veteran-specific educational presentations to the community, healthcare providers and Veteran organizations throughout the year.
VITAS gathers Military History at time of admission and individually recognizes Veterans for their service. VITAS assists Veterans and families in accessing benefits and implements procedures for transitioning Veterans across venues of care, including VA Medical Centers. VITAS also develops and implements procedures of measurements and reporting of care and services specifically for Veterans. VITAS has updated policies to incorporate Veteran-specific programs and services for patients and families receiving care.
Hospice & Veteran Partnerships:
VITAS continues strong relationship development and partnerships with Veteran Service Organizations and VA Medical Centers locally and state-wide.
VITAS end-of-life care experts are trained to support the difficult circumstances faced by some veterans near the end of life, including financial and benefit concerns, post-traumatic stress disorder, unresolved issues associated with the stresses of military service, depression and suicide. Veterans can be referred to VITAS from the VA or by community-based healthcare providers, or they can contact us directly to discuss VITAS services.
Other key features of VITAS services for veterans include:
- A streamlined referral and admission process
- Familiarity with the VA system and how to identify and access benefit options for veterans
- Coverage of hospice care for veterans by the VA, TRICARE, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance and other forms of reimbursement
- Coordination of care with the staff of the local VA medical center, including joint visits when appropriate
- VITAS veteran liaisons, who in many VITAS locations function as communications contacts and primary educational resources to the VA and local veterans organizations
- Referrals for additional community services as needed
- A full range of bereavement support, including grief and loss programs, support groups and memorial services for veterans’ loved ones
- Recognition and celebration of important events, including holidays such as Veteran’s Day and military anniversaries