National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization has been awarded a contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue development of the highly-successful We Honor Veterans program, a national initiative to engage community partners in the care of Veterans, especially those facing advanced illness and nearing the end of life.
NHPCO and the VA launched We Honor Veterans in 2010 to address the growing need for veteran-centered care, especially as Veterans are aging and need access to palliative and hospice care.
“We Honor Veterans partners are on a mission to serve our nation’s Veterans with the dignity they deserve,” says NHPCO President and CEO, J. Donald Schumacher. “We equip our partners with the resources to acquire the necessary skills to understand and serve the unique needs of our Veterans.”
WHV partners address the unique healthcare needs of Veterans, both physical and emotional, including the psychological toll of war and how it impacts their end-of-life journey. In some cases, Veteran patients are paired with volunteers who have also served their country and share a unique and honorable bond. Many partners also recognize the military service of Veterans with special pinning ceremonies and awards.
“As there will continue to be more than 500,000 Veterans dying each year for the next decade, VA’s collaboration with community programs is needed if we are going to address the needs of an even larger number of seriously ill Veterans,” says Scott T. Shreve, DO, National Director, Hospice and Palliative Care for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “These demographic projections also call for increased understanding of the different war eras (e.g., Vietnam Era) as approaches to end of life care need to adapt to each Veteran’s needs.”
We Honor Veterans has successfully grown to include the involvement of over half of the hospice community nationwide, the fastest growing program in the history of NHPCO. This effort provides for continued engagement of the hospice community in the We Honor Veterans program and extends current efforts to include non-hospice community health care providers. Currently there are 2,534 hospice partners and 917 non-hospice community partners enrolled in the program.
We Honor Veterans provides tiered recognition to partners that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for Veterans and their families. In 2015, the NHPCO team will focus on growing the partnership base and moving existing partners through the tiered recognition program.
To learn more about We Honor Veterans or to support this important work via a secure, online donation, please visit wehonorveterans.org.