Thank you to all of our awesome Advocates who have taken action, emailed Congress, attended meetings, or hosted events this year! We are already looking ahead to 2018, and would love to hear YOUR ideas on how we can help you be better Advocates! Please email us with your ideas for new resources, training, videos, templates, one-pagers, or other ideas for how we can help you learn about policy and advocacy, and be better advocates for the hospice and palliative care community!
There are many stories like David Powell’s that demonstrate the effort and support We Honor Veterans hospice and community partners offer when visiting veterans who are near the end of their lives. With Veterans Day approaching this Saturday, these stories are being shared worldwide. Here are a few:
Ontario-Yates Hospice volunteers from New York honored Navy Commander Dale F. Mueller, 94, of Penn Yan, New York a veteran of two wars. The ceremony included a flag lap throw, presentation of a U.S. flag pin and framed certificate acknowledging and thanking him for his service, a reading of “The Sailor’s Creed,” and concluded with a formal salute in the presence of his children. Mary Zelazny, one of Mueller’s daughters, mentioned that he loved the ceremony. “He was always very proud of his military service,” she said.
Heartlite Hospice held a “We Honor Veterans Lunch” to celebrate the brave veterans who fought and served our country. This is the fifth year of the event, which typically occurs the week before or after Veterans Day. The lunch included a video presentation, a POW/MIA ceremony, performance of taps, and gifts for every attendee with personal thank you notes from students at a local high school.
Over 4,500 hospice organizations and community partners provide Veteran-centric care to our nation’s heroes.
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the We Honor Veterans program join the nation in honoring and celebrating our Veterans this Veterans Day. Veterans with serious illness have unique needs at the end of the life. There are over 4,500 We Honor Veterans partner programs across the nation, committed to providing Veterans with the Veteran- centric care and resources they deserve. We Honor Veterans partners address both physical and emotional needs, including the psychological toll of war and how it impacts the end-of-life journey.
“We honor and thank America’s Veterans and the over 4,500 We Honor Veterans partners that have made a commitment to provide quality Veteran-centric care to our nation’s heroes living with serious illness,” says NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach. “Now entering its eighth year, We Honor Veterans continues to grow amongst hospice programs, community-based healthcare partners, and non-hospice community partners.”
NHPCO, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, created the We Honor Veterans program to empower hospice and other non-hospice community partners across America to meet the unique needs of seriously ill Veterans and their families. Partners engage in activities including utilizing a military history checklist at admission, pinning ceremonies and certificate presentations, as well as outreach to other community organizations. We Honor Veterans partners in partnership with VA staff, learn how to accompany and guide Veterans through their end-of-life journey toward a more peaceful ending.
In 2017, over 27,000 hospice staff (some duplicate) participated in We Honor Veterans training programs across the country. Hospices reported that they reached over 26,000 participants in community outreach at venues which include but are not limited to churches, homeless shelters, and assisted living facilities.
There are four levels of distinction that partner programs can earn based on their involvement with Veteran education and interaction with the Veterans and family members they are caring for. The goal of these levels is to ensure the very best care is being provided to those who have served our nation.
As we celebrate our nation’s heroes this Veterans Day – and every day of the year – we must not forget that it is never too late to give them a hero’s welcome home..
Finally, a BIG THANK YOU to the many advocates who have reached out and contacted their Members of Congress this month! Whether it was an invitation to a We Honor Veterans Ceremony, requesting their support for a bill, or attempting to schedule an in-district meeting, we know so many of you are working hard to advocate for your patients and families! I know it can be very frustrating, and congressional schedules are notoriously hard to navigate, but I am so proud that so many of you stepped up this month! Fingers crossed that we see some great results!
As always, please stay in touch, and let us know if we can be helpful!
Hello everyone! My name is Sydney Shepherd and I am excited to be the new Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for the Hospice Action Network. Just this year, I had firsthand experience with the meaningful impact hospice and palliative care can have on patients and their family members and friends, which piqued my interest in NHPCO. When my aunt was near the end of her life, my uncle expressed how grateful he was to have an in-house nurse who was so attentive and who made my aunt’s transition that much smoother. This industry means a lot to so many, and joining this team is very significant to me.
Now, for a little bit more about Sydney. I graduated from the University of Delaware in 2015 with a BA in Criminal Justice. There, I was a track athlete, a member of the campus’s Cultural Programming Advisory Board, and actively involved in my sorority. I love Octavia Butler novels, puppies, a strong cup of coffee and Kit Kat bars (shout out to NHPCO for giving me a whole bucket of them. I don’t know what to do with myself!!). I come to NHPCO with a little over 3 years of nonprofit experience. Recently, I worked with NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, assisting with their effort to bring high quality broadband access to rural telecommunications providers. Prior to, I worked for America’s Public Television Stations and had an internship at Community Advocates for Family and Youth, where I contributed to advocacy efforts on behalf of victims of crime. Through my experiences, I’ve learned that a successful nonprofit employee truly cares about the members’ needs and is willing to go the extra mile to accomplish goals. Well I’m used to running, so I’m definitely up for the challenge!
I hope to engage with some of you soon, and look forward to the work I can do to aid in HAN’s advocacy efforts.