Honor, Gratitude and Compassion: A Video of How U.S. Veterans Receive Care at the End of Life
MIAMI, FL – The newest video from VITAS® Healthcare, the nation’s leading provider of end-of-life care, highlights the various ways that the hospice company honors and cares for seriously ill veterans, from educating and partnering with community groups that focus on veteran care to recognizing veteran patients at the bedside.
Released on Veterans Day, the three-minute video features VITAS admissions specialists Nancy Auster and Carole Quackenbush–serving as veteran liaisons in Miami and Cincinnati, respectively–who describe the thoroughness with which VITAS addresses its veteran patients’ needs. Former Marine Tony Kohl, a member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, also speaks about VITAS’ ability to bridge the gap between veterans near the end of life and the local veteran community.
VITAS thoroughly screens the military history of each veteran patient upon admission to develop a full picture of their medical, psychosocial and spiritual needs. This provides a better understanding of how to appropriately recognize the patient’s service and show appreciation through memorial services, pinning ceremonies, bedside salutes, Honor Flight trips and more.
“It’s not just a one-and-done with VITAS; they come back, they go in, they visit, they’re regular.”Tony Kohl, retired Marine and member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart
“Many of our veterans, especially those whom were in combat, have unique needs at the end of life related to PTSD,” says Quackenbush. “A common thing we hear from our veteran patients is ‘I’m going to go to hell for what I did during the war,’ or ‘I can’t forgive myself.’ Our mission and our goal with the care we provide should be to give every veteran peace at the end of life and self-forgiveness.”
While special ceremonies and gestures of honor are often beneficial for veterans, VITAS also serves as a resource to help veterans apply for the benefits they deserve, assist their families with care and counseling, and educate caregivers on their loved one’s unique needs.
VITAS maintains strong, strategic relationships with multiple veteran organizations to facilitate special recognitions and help connect local veterans with their comrades to explore each other’s perspective and experiences.
To ensure its veteran patients feel seen, heard and understood, VITAS employs veterans in every level of the organization, from clinical teams to sales to administration. VITAS also educates its civilian personnel and community partners, such as nursing homes, on vets’ unique needs.
“It’s not just a one-and-done with VITAS; they come back, they go in, they visit, they’re regular,” says Kohl, a VITAS community partner and Vietnam-era veteran. “They try to cater to everything a [veteran] needs…and make them feel appreciated, and do everything they can to make their life easier and comfortable.”
Since 1978, VITAS has taken its commitment to veterans as seriously as the hospice provider’s commitment to the nation. It is VITAS’ duty and honor to care for and recognize veterans at the end of life so that they may find peace as they fulfill their final mission.