Volunteer with Veterans in Hospice
VITAS wants to enlist your services to help veterans near the end of life.
We are looking for veterans of the armed services and others who want to honor and support our living heroes. All volunteers are trained to meet specific end-of-life needs of veterans to improve their quality of life.
VITAS Wants You To:
- Visit a terminally ill veteran
- Drive and/or accompany a veteran to appointments, shopping and other events
- Help a veteran apply for benefits or learn about available assistance
- Help replace lost or stolen military medals by contacting appropriate agencies
- Listen to life stories, even recording or videotaping a veteran’s reminiscences
- Telephone veterans to ask how they are doing
- Attend or plan activities celebrating veteran holidays and events
- Educate veterans’ groups about hospice services by speaking at their meetings
The Role of Veteran Volunteers
Volunteers comprise a crucial component of the VITAS hospice team. They provide practical and emotional support to patients and families when they need it most, and are available to sit by a bedside and lend an ear.
The Veteran’s Perspective
Many veterans receiving hospice care appreciate contact with volunteers who are also veterans, even if they served in a different time or place. As members (or ex-members) of the military themselves, the volunteers are intimately acquainted with the types of issues veterans face—and they can often empathize in a way that even the hospice team or family members cannot.
VITAS veteran volunteers:
- Listen to patients and their families. They are sensitive to fellow veterans’ needs, and understand firsthand the services they rendered and the sacrifices they made.
- Help revive memories. Veteran volunteers are knowledgeable about the historical contexts of veterans’ service, and can help patients recapture their memories and pass them on to their families.
- Coordinate replacement medals. Veteran volunteers are familiar with the military channels through which replacement medals are acquired.
- Provide veterans benefits assistance. Since they are familiar with the system, veteran volunteers can often assist patients and families with applying for and securing veterans benefits.
- Raise community awareness. Veteran volunteers often help hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living and long term care facilities to plan events that recognize veterans’ service on important holidays.
At VITAS, we actively recruit and train the community volunteers who provide this vital service to our patients. In turn, they provide education about hospice programs and end-of-life issues to local veterans groups to help raise awareness within the community.