The program We Honor Veterans advocates for care that meets the unique needs of dying veterans. According to the organization, 1 in 4 dying Americans is a veteran.
“We hope to help staff and volunteers learn how to accompany and guide veterans through their life stories toward a more peaceful ending,” said Kelly Sautel, with Samaritan Evergreen Hospice Business Development.
The partnership teaches respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement to comfort patients with a history of military service, including those who have experienced physical or psychological trauma. Samaritan Evergreen Hospice staff and volunteers are trained to listen carefully, express appreciation and to celebrate life’s accomplishments.
Planning for the partnership with the We Honor Veterans program began early in 2014. Last September, Samaritan Evergreen Hospice held an informational community meeting at the American Legion in Albany highlighting for veterans the hospice services available locally. That meeting was attended by representatives of many veterans groups.
To improve access to end-of-life care, the hospice team developed new relationships with these groups, including Vets Helping Vets, the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. They also strengthened ties to Veterans Administration facilities.
“Since the opening of the new VA home in Lebanon, Samaritan Evergreen Hospice has developed a strong relationship to be able to take care of our veterans in this wonderful setting,” Sautel said.
On average, 25 veterans are being cared for daily by Samaritan Evergreen Hospice. At the Samaritan Evergreen Hospice House in Albany, veterans who would like to be recognized can have a service banner displayed outside their room. And any veteran in hospice care can receive a pin and certificate of appreciation for their military service at a special ceremony.
Samaritan Evergreen Hospice is pursuing the second level of partnership with We Honor Veterans, which involves additional staff and volunteer training, community outreach events for veterans and partnership with local, regional and statewide hospice-veteran groups.
For more information, contact 541-812-4662 or samhealth.org/Hospice.