PINEHURST – FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care in Pinehurst has presented their 1,000th certificate to a veteran as part of the We Honor Veterans program.
We Honor Veterans is a collaboration between the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The campaign is designed to empower hospice professionals to meet the needs of patients with a history of military service which may present unique challenges at the end of life.
More than 25 percent of those who die every year in the U.S. are veterans.
“To help provide care and support that reflects the important contributions made by these men and women, FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care became a partner of the We Honor Veterans program in 2011,” says Tina Gibbs, director of FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care.
As a We Honor Veterans partner, FirstHealth implements ongoing veteran-centered education for its staff and volunteers to help improve the care they provide to the veterans they serve.
The We Honor Veterans campaign recognizes organizations that demonstrate a systematic commitment to improving care for veterans. FirstHealth staff is trained to serve veterans by integrating best practices into end-of-life care for veterans.
“Veteran patients may experience end-of-life issues related to their service. These issues may be spiritual, psychological and physical,” says Barbara Bane, volunteer services assistant with FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care. “Veterans and their families benefit from the veteran-specific enhancement of understanding and provision of care when entering into hospice or palliative care. Our ultimate goal is that each veteran patient is made physically comfortable, and that emotional and spiritual healing are both facilitated for peace of mind and heart.”
As part of the program, FirstHealth acknowledges each veteran patient through a pinning ceremony and presentation of a certificate of appreciation for their military service at the veteran’s place of residence. The programs are conducted by FirstHealth staff or by a volunteer who is a veteran or active service member. The presentation, according to Bane, is a time to acknowledge and honor a veteran’s oath to serve.
“These ceremonies are very personal and touching,” she says. “Many times the veteran patient will share stories never heard by the family, or return a salute when he or she may be so weak that it would be impossible to do. Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there is humor.”
The 1,000th presentation was completed in July of 2018. FirstHealth will continue to honor veteran patients for their service.
“As a hospice, we will continue to honor our veteran patients and do so with great humility, respect and dedication in order to serve them as they have served us,” says Bane.
To learn more about the We Honor Veterans program, visit www.wehonorveterans.org. To learn more about services provided by FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care, visit www.firsthealth.org/hospice or call (910) 715-6000.