We Honor Veterans campaign helps care for veterans at the end of life
It surprises many Americans to learn that 25 percent of all deaths in the US are veterans. That’s 1,800 people a day, more than 680,000 veterans every year. These heroic Americans deserve recognition for their military service—particularly at the end of life’s journey. The We Honor Veterans program was developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPC)and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, hospice providers are able to accompany and guide America’s veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending. We Honor Veterans focuses on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with veteran-centered education of staff caring for veterans. Veterans often take great pride in their service, seeing it as a period of time when they did something meaningful to make a difference in the world—despite the fact they may have been imprisoned, tortured, wounded, exposed to atrocities, or had other traumatic experiences.
However, not all veterans see their service as a positive one or do not see their sacrifice has having made any difference—and this has resulting complications. Understanding how veterans view their service, whether is it positive or negative, has implications for how they view their disease at the end of their life, especially if it’s related to their service.
Donald Schumacher, President of NHPCO, says, “America’s veterans have done everything asked of them in their mission to serve our country and we believe it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home. Now it’s time that we step up, acquire the necessary skills and fulfill our mission to serve these men and women with the dignity they deserve.
We Honor Veterans helps hospice providers to:
Learn more about caring for veterans.
Declare a commitment to honoring veterans at the end of life.
Partner with the VA.
Assess their current ability to serve veterans.
Provide education for hospice staff and volunteers.
Measure quality and outcomes for continued improvement.