We Honor Veterans is a national campaign designed to engage and support community hospice and other
health care providers in better understanding and addressing Veterans’ needs at the end of life.
In September 2010, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of
Veteran Affairs launched WHV to address the growing need for Veteran-centered care, especially as the need for
access to hospice and palliative care by the aging Veterans population was growing.
Since its inception, WHV has successfully grown to include the involvement of over half of the hospice
community nationwide, the fastest growing program in the history of NHPCO – and now extends its efforts
to include non-hospice community health care providers.
The goals of WHV are to:
1. Promote Veteran-centric educational activities,
2. Increase organizational capacity to serve Veterans,
3. Support development of strategic partnerships, and
4. Increase access to hospice and palliative care for Veterans.
WHV provides education, resources, and technical assistance to educate hospice and other health care
professionals caring for Veterans, including those whose military service, combat experience, or other traumatic
events may come to light during their dying process.
By recognizing the unique needs of America’s Veterans and their families, hospices can accompany and guide them through their life stories toward a more peaceful ending.
A Veteran Pinning Ceremony is an optional benefit for Veteran patients under hospice care. The ceremony provides an opportunity for Hospice staff and volunteers to publicly acknowledge a Veteran’s military service and show appreciation for the sacrifices made by the Veteran and his/her family. The goal of the ceremony is to facilitate discussion related to a Veteran’s service experiences and allow him/her a chance to share parts of their story. By doing so, a sense of meaning or purpose can be gained by the Veteran, or an opportunity for healing may occur. These Ceremonies may be the first time a Veteran has been recognized and may provide necessary closure.
The ceremony is relatively brief and can be done at the bedside or in another location on a date and time arranged by the Veteran and their family. During the ceremony, a personalized certificate and ‘Honored Veteran’ American Flag pin are presented by one of our Vet-to-Vet Volunteers. Some patients elect to keep the ceremony small with the veteran volunteer, Hospice staff, and a few family members. Others have used it as an opportunity for a great celebration with a large gathering of family and friends. If the Veteran or family prefers to just recieve the certificate and pin without a ceremony, this is an available option as well. As each Veteran’s military experience is different, so is their preference for a pinning ceremony. Large or small, every ceremony is equally powerful.
Vet to Vet Volunteers
Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley offers a Vet-to-Vet Volunteer program where trained hospice volunteers, who are also Veterans, are matched with patients who are Veterans. The Vet-to-Vet Volunteer connection is a special bond between two individuals who know firsthand the impact of serving our Country. Veteran Volunteers have the unique ability to connect with patients, creating an environment where life review and healing may occur.
Veteran volunteers activities may include caregiver respite, companionship care, and participating in a Pinning Ceremony. If you are a Veteran or are actively serving you can become a Vet-to-Vet Volunteer. The camaraderie established with service to our Country has proven to be essential in our mission to provide a peaceful and comfortable death for our Veterans.
For more information on the We Honor Veterans program or how to get involved, contact Amanda Mason at 315-265-3105 or email@example.com