Hospice for Veterans and how is it different from others

Serving in the military is a noble calling, but the job can take a physical, mental and emotional toll on veterans. There are about 1.3 million active-duty personnel in the U.S. military, and that statistic is expected to continue growing. The Veterans Administration (VA) strives to provide comprehensive medical care and hospice for veterans and those actively serving.

There are roughly 18 million veterans in the U.S., which is about 7% of the population. With that many people dealing with the aftereffects of war, having supportive services available for their physical and psychological needs is crucial. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has responded to this population growth by initiating services such as Comprehensive End-of-Life Care, which helps improve hospice services for veterans.

Military veterans deserve access to quality end-of-life treatment through a VA care provider that caters to their unique needs. Learn more about hospice for veterans, how treatment goals focused on their experiences can improve care and the role of VA benefits.

Hospice for Veterans: How is it Different?

Veterans typically have unique physical and mental health needs compared to civilian patients. Because of their military service, veteran patients may experience a higher level of physical, mental and emotional trauma throughout their lives. Adding in the stress of a terminal diagnosis can cause a recurrence of mental and emotional health concerns related to a veteran’s wartime experience, making it essential for caregivers to use a comprehensive approach to end-of-life care that addresses these complex issues.

For veterans in hospice, palliative care usually includes classic comfort care, which may involve pain management and symptom relief, as well as specific services aimed at addressing the mental, emotional and spiritual needs of veterans.

Choosing Hospice Care and Palliative Care for Veterans

Hospice care is intended for patients with a terminal diagnosis and a life expectancy of six months or less. Patients entering hospice care must have ceased curative treatment for their illness, so the goal is to relieve pain, treat symptoms and manage end-of-life issues. Veterans may be diagnosed with a terminal illness related to their previous military career or an illness such as cancer or COPD that developed on its own.

Hospice patients receive comprehensive care tailored to their specific needs. Since family members often serve as primary caregivers, a hospice care team can help relieve the burden and provide education for administering proper care. Spiritual and emotional support can relieve suffering for both the patient and their family to make this process as painless as possible. Bereavement counseling can help family caregivers deal with the death of their loved one. Three Oaks Hospice provides up to 13 months of bereavement counseling after the patient’s death.

For veterans with severe illness who haven’t reached the terminal stage but require more assistance than family members and friends can provide, palliative care is another option. During palliative care, patients receive many of the same services as during hospice, but curative treatments may continue.

Meeting the Unique Needs of Veterans

Hospice benefits for veterans are tailored to an individual’s specific needs and address limitations veterans may experience at the end of their lives. Because individuals with military experience are at a higher risk of certain issues from direct and indirect exposure to conflict, those issues need to be considered while they’re receiving care. Common issues veterans face include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops in people who’ve experienced a frightening or dangerous event. This anxiety disorder can affect them throughout their lives.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Veterans face many hazards during active duty, including explosives and mines. This exposure increases their risk of serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury.
  • Chronic pain: The military has demanding physical expectations, resulting in many veterans living with chronic pain conditions such as musculoskeletal pain.
  • Presumptive diseases: These specific diseases are normally associated with exposure to certain herbicides or chemicals, like Agent Orange, that veterans are more likely to come into contact with.
  • Survivor’s guilt: Veterans may experience survivor’s guilt, especially if they lost someone close to them during battle. This condition is closely connected to symptoms of depression and PTSD.

Hospice health care geared toward veteran patients includes a wide variety of services that focus on treating these specific physical and psychological issues. Services can include physical or occupational therapy, pain medications, counseling and music or animal therapy.

three oaks hospice care for Veterans with Unique Needs

Three Oaks Hospice Locations

Three Oaks Hospice has locations across the U.S., ensuring that caring, compassionate hospice and palliative care are available to patients where they live. Three Oak Hospice provides on-site care in the home or where the patient calls home, whether that’s in their residence, a family member’s, or in a medical facility.

Understanding VA Benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs

If you’re a veteran in the U.S., you’re entitled to VA benefits though the Department of Veterans Affairs, which includes coverage for hospice care. This veterans program was designed to ensure those who serve receive medical care benefits. You’re eligible for VA benefits if you’re:

  • A veteran yourself
  • A dependent of a veteran
  • The surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran
  • An active-duty service member of the Reserve or National Guard

There are further requirements you must meet to qualify for VA hospice care, such as being diagnosed with a terminal illness, having a life expectancy of six months or less and seeking treatment focused on comfort rather than a cure. As long as you qualify for VA benefits, you won’t have to worry about getting private insurance for hospice treatment.

Understanding VA Benefits

Honoring Veterans at Three Oaks Hospice

At Three Oaks Hospice, we honor veterans and take special pride in providing comprehensive care for patients with prior military service. Three Oaks Hospice participates in the We Honor Veterans program, a partnership program between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs that trains hospice care workers to address end-of-life issues unique to veterans.

If you’re seeking veterans hospice care for a loved one in the Hurst or Richardson, Texas, area, Three Oaks Hospice is here to help. Contact us today for more information on the services we offer and how VA benefits can be used to ease the suffering of your loved one.

Three Oaks Hospice Can Help

If you or a loved one requires the hospice services of Three Oaks, please contact us through the form below or find a location near you.

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