Hospice Honors Our Veterans

“Hospice care is much more than physical comfort care for the terminally ill. Hospice care focuses on the total needs of our patients. As we get ready for Memorial Day, a holiday designed to remember the fallen veterans who served our country, we at Hospice are proud to honor and recognize the gift our living veterans have made.”

Edo Banach, President and CEO, NHPCO

It may be surprising to learn that 25 percent of those who die each year in the U.S. are veterans. The nation is seeing many of the veterans who served in Korea pass away, and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise as well.

Many times veterans are hesitant to share their service experiences. Some have never even shared their combat or war stories with their spouse or best friends because it’s just too traumatic. By recognizing the unique needs of our nation’s veterans who are facing a life-limiting illness, Hospice of Central New York and Hospice of the Finger Lakes is better able to accompany and guide veterans and their families toward a more peaceful ending.

We have volunteers, who are veterans themselves, that visit patients and offer them a special Hospice pin to recognize their service to their country. A few months ago, we spoke to Pat Spadafore who served during World War Two in the European theater and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. The Hospice pinning ceremony meant a lot to him, his wife and their children. Pat’s service was documented by him in albums filled with pictures, letters and memorabilia. His time in the service from boot camp until he returned home from the war was a significant part of his life.

Service recognition is a priority for hospice programs. So much so that the National Hospice & Palliative Care Association and the Department of Veterans Affairs created a program called “We Honor Veterans” to specifically ensure that Americans who have served are recognized. Why? Organizers of the program say it best, “It’s the last chance for a grateful nation to show their appreciation.”