Caring for Veterans at Life's End is Celebrated with Inaugural Access Award

Nov 07, 2012, 09:00 ET from National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

Caring for Veterans at Life's End is Celebrated with Inaugural Access Award

As Veterans Day Approaches, NHPCO Recognizes VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Dayton

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Every day, 1,800 U.S. Veterans die; that's more than 680,000 Veterans every year. These Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our acknowledgment.  Honoring our nation's Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire life – especially at the end.



A generation of World War II and Korean War Veterans are currently facing end-of-life care decisions, and they are quickly being followed by younger Vietnam War Veterans, many of whom are confronting serious and life-limiting illnesses at an even earlier age.

As our nation marks Veterans Day on November 11, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization deepens its commitment to increase Veterans' access to the compassionate, high-quality care available from the nation's hospice and palliative care providers.

NHPCO has been a long-time supporter of the valuable work being done by the Department of Veterans Affairs to bring palliative care services to VA Medical Centers and the communities they serve.

Advancing End-of-life Care Access Award

As part of its efforts to recognize the important work of caring for Veterans, NHPCO presented its inaugural Advancing End-of-life Care Access Award to VITAS Innovative Hospice Care of Dayton at NHPCO's 13th Clinical Team Conference in Orlando.

VITAS of Dayton began its Veterans initiative three and a half years ago to ensure that information about hospice is readily available to Veterans and their families that are facing serious and life-limiting illness.

Among its many activities to support Veterans are outreach services to local homeless Veterans and partnerships with the VA to provide supportive services to drug and alcohol dependent Veterans.  The organization also supports the community's "Honor Flight" program which brings Veterans to the nation's capital to visit the many monuments and memorials that honor this country's greatest heroes.

The hospice also honors its Veteran patients by hosting pinning ceremonies that recognize their military service.  The organization has pinned well over 1,000 Veterans in the last three and a half years.

As a result of this work and more, VITAS of Dayton has earned the distinction as a Level Four Partner in the We Honor Veterans program – the highest level a hospice can attain.

"Efforts at the VITAS program in Dayton are particularly impressive and reflect an organization-wide passion for caring for Veterans," said NHPCO President and CEO J. Donald Schumacher, PsyD, during the presentation of the Access Award.

"As our country observes Veterans Day on November 11, it is most appropriate that we celebrate a hospice program that has made significant strides in reaching Veterans," Schumacher added.

We Honor Veterans Campaign

NHPCO, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, has taken steps to help healthcare providers better serve Veterans at life's end through the ongoing efforts of the innovative campaign, We Honor Veterans.

More than 1,600 hospices across the country now participate in the We Honor Veterans campaign. The free tools and support available through We Honor Veterans help hospices to better understand the unique needs of our nation's dying Veterans.

An article describing some of the efforts of We Honor Veterans partners is available in the November 2012 issue of NHPCO's member newsletter, NewsLine.

Additional Information

If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care that hospice palliative care brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about care options. Information is available from NHPCO's Caring Connections at or by calling the HelpLine at 1-800-658-8898.

If you would like to support work being done at the national level to expand care for Veterans at the end of life, please visit

To all our nation's Veterans, thank you.

Jon Radulovic
NHPCO, Vice President of Communications
Ph: 703-837-3139
Cell: 571-259-5026

NHPCO is the oldest and largest nonprofit membership organization representing hospice and palliative care programs and professionals in the United States. NHPCO's mission is to lead and mobilize social change for improved care at the end of life.

SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization