One-fourth of all Americans who die this year will be Veterans.
As members of the Hospice Veteran Partnership of Ohio, a national program of the VA Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s, We Honor Veterans program, we are committed to increasing Veterans’ awareness and access to hospice and palliative care.
As human beings, we share some common experiences as death approaches. However, at Stein Hospice, we realize that Veterans have even more complex needs especially combat soldiers and POW’s who have faced the grim realities of death in a very dramatic way. They may be coping with unresolved grief or survivor guilt having witnessed traumatic deaths and injuries that may color how they come to terms with their own death. What might be a normal environmental stimulus for us, can act as a trigger for Veterans’ memories. They may experience vivid combat memories and become agitated while coming out of anesthesia. Loud sounds, surgical instruments and strange faces can cause unanticipated reactions. And rather than attempt to control or ignore the anger, fear, helplessness, guilt and sadness, Stein Hospice is going to great lengths to understand how to help Veterans deal with their emotional and spiritual distress.
Stein Hospice is committed to “sharing the journey”, with our Veteran patients. We are on a mission to qualify our clinical and non-clinical staff and volunteers to meet the needs of these special individuals who have already given so much to us. Here are some of our endeavors:
• Social workers and other staff are well versed on medical, funeral and other benefits that Veterans and their families are eligible for.
• Fourteen counselors have been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR is a therapeutic intervention for complicated grief and trauma and is especially beneficial to Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Recently two of these counselors were presenters at the Ohio Hospice Veteran Partnership Conference, “Caring for Veterans” held in Toledo, Ohio
• We continue to educate our staff. We have had a presentation by Deborah Grassman, ARNP, the Director of Hospice and Palliative Care at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center in Florida. Ms. Grassman has over 26 years of experience working with Veterans at end of life and she shared her knowledge and experience to over 100 staff and community members. We have also had Heather McKay, MS, OTR/L, Dementia Care Specialist present at the Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky to close to 90 staff, volunteers and community members. She has a straightforward approach which communicates useful concepts all caregivers can put into practice immediately.
• Our volunteers provide a blanket to each Veteran with the patch of their branch of the service and perform a “pinning ceremony” during which the Veteran is thanked for their service (some for the first time) by placing a pin from the Ohio Hospice Veteran Partnership over their heart.
• An escort ceremony is held for Veteran patients who die at the Stein Hospice Care Center in Sandusky. Click here for more information.
• We recognize and celebrate important events including holidays such as Veterans’ Day and military anniversaries such as the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII. You may have seen our billboards with the famous kiss in New York and the “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive” words along side.
We will continue our work, to bring peace to our Veterans. We hope you will join us.
For more information about PeaceWorks or to schedule a pinning ceremony for your Veterans, please call 419-625-5269.