Veteran Centered Carein Community Hospice
What is Veteran Centered Care?
Veteran-centered hospice care means that from admissions to bereavement, the hospice team is trained to understand the issues facing veterans in order to better meet their needs and support them and their families at the end of life.
Veterans in hospice care have unique needs when approaching the end of life. Through early identification of veterans and their unique situations, we can ensure that our veteran patients have access to any benefits available to them, including possible compensation, monthly pension, survivor benefits and burial benefits. We can also assist veterans in obtaining their honorable discharge papers.
To help provide care and support that honor the important contributions made by these men and women, Hospice East Bay has implemented a comprehensive team-based approach to recognizing and understanding veterans’ issues.
Creating a community of compassion and care which honors veterans through recognition of their sacrifice as well as sensitivity toward the impact of military service on veterans and their families at the end of life.
Hospice East Bay is a national partner of We Honor Veterans, a pioneering campaign developed by National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help provide care and support that reflect the important contributions made by these men and women.
The We Honor Veterans campaign provides tiered recognition to organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for Veterans. As a We Honor Veterans Partner, Hospice East Bay will conduct ongoing Veteran-centered education for their staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the Veterans they proudly serve.
The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with Veteran-centric education of health care staff caring for Veterans. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s Veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, Hospice East Bay is better able to accompany and guide Veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending.
As of 2020 Hospice East Bay has achieved 5-star status as a We Honor Veterans partner, the highest rating offered to hospice organizations.
- Medical issues such as service-connected illnesses and disabilities; history of complex medical needs; multiple health conditions
- Mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress symptoms, depression, moral wounds, cognitive injuries; behavior or anger issues
- Alcohol and substance abuse or dependency issues
- Issues with trust related to the health care system
- Isolation and estrangement from family, friends, and community
- Grief and bereavement issues complex and unresolved grief, survivor guilt
- Financial issues, due to lack of available resources and/or support services
- Discharge papers or records of service (needed by veteran or family for claims or burial benefits)
- Enrollment in the VHA for additional veteran and caregiver support and resources
- Information and/or access to veteran community support services and resources
- Claims for pension/aid and attendance, based on income and assets, for qualifying veterans or surviving spouses
- Claims for service-connected illness/injury, including identified presumptive health conditions for veterans who qualify
Vet-to-Vet Cafes offer veterans a chance to gather together, enjoy refreshments, share stories and participate in a gently-facilitated discussion on topics of interest to veterans. These events are about one hour long and led by Hospice East Bay’s Veterans Coordinator, Noga Welner-Kessler, MSW. For more information, please call (925) 887-5678 and ask for Noga.
One of the many ways Hospice East Bay recognizes the contributions of veterans in our care is by holding a pinning ceremony where the veteran is honored for their service. These events are organized by hospice staff and volunteers, and occur in the home, or in any facility which the veteran calls home.
At a pinning ceremony, each veteran is surrounded by loved ones, friends, and community, as they are presented with a pin, a certificate, and a handmade quilt featuring their branch of service.
Ceremonies are an important part of military culture. A formal pinning on one’s collar and a shaking of one’s hand is a strong symbol of recognition and of honoring one for his or her action or service.
However, not all veterans in our care receive pinning ceremonies. For some veterans, the memories and emotions attached to their service are too painful and too complex for them to feel comfortable being recognized, and so they decline the offer of a ceremony in their honor.
In all cases, we strive to meet veterans and their families where they are, respecting their decisions, and working to provide them the comfort and care they deserve.