Many community hospice providers have implemented an innovative model for serving veterans at the end of life: the Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program.
The Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program aims to pair recruited veteran volunteers with hospice patients who have been identified as veterans. Once paired with hospice patients who also have military experience, veteran volunteers have the unique ability to relate and connect with each patient thereby creating an environment where life review and healing may occur.
Establishing a Veteran-to-Veteran Volunteer Program is also a criterion for hospices accomplishing We Honor Veterans Partner Level Three.
What is the importance of veteran volunteers?
– Volunteers are essential to the delivery of quality hospice care.
– Veterans are a part of a distinct culture with their own common language and experience.
– When veterans interact, their common language and experience can form a strong relational bond.
– The camaraderie created between veterans has proven to be supportive for all involved.
Where can veteran volunteers be recruited?
– Find out who are veterans in your existing volunteer pool.
– Ask your staff if they know any veterans who would be interested in volunteering.
– Contact veteran service organizations, VA facilities and state veterans homes for potential volunteers.
– Use internet and print media to spread the word about recruitment.
What activities can veteran volunteers do?
– Assist veterans in reminiscing/telling life stories.
– Educate and assist patients in receiving veteran benefits.
– Take part in pinning ceremonies or distribute certificates for Veterans Day and other recognition events.
– Assist in replacing lost medals.
Supporting Veteran Volunteers:
– Conduct interdisciplinary team support meetings.
– Recognize and thank veteran volunteers in person, and through newsletters and email postings.
– Provide continuing education with veteran-specific content to staff and volunteers.
– Continue to monitor veteran volunteers to assess negative reactions.
We at Hospice of Fayette County are part of the “We Honor Veterans” program and are on our way to reaching our third star. We greatly appreciate the local veteran community and all that they do. We have been blessed to have a great relationship with local groups and have even recently had groups host fundraisers for us. We could not be the nation that we are without our veteran community and Hospice of Fayette County could not function without our volunteers. We are very excited to begin recruitment of our local veterans to serve our current veteran patient population.
Please join us for a “Lunch and Learn” to hear more about this program and much more. We will be hosting and along with our presentation the Chillicothe VA will be in to speak about services they offer and our local Fayette County Veteran Service office will be in to answer questions about what they can do. We will be at the American Legion, 1240 US Highway 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Please RSVP to Hospice of Fayette County at 740-335-0149.