Gaston Hospice Honors Veterans Through National Program
For the past seven years, Gaston Hospice has participated in the national We Honor Veterans program in order to best guide patients with military experience through their end-of-life care. The program is the result of a collaboration between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Participating local hospice organizations, like Gaston Hospice, must demonstrate a systematic effort and commitment to providing specialized care for veterans in order to be designated as a “Partner” under the program.
In order for a hospice program to qualify and become a Partner under the program, specific activities and services must be offered, including training and processes for staff to identify patients with military experience. Once a veteran is identified at Gaston Hospice, the clinical staff will hold a small recognition ceremony for that patient and their loved ones. The patient is presented with a certificate of honor, a United States flag pin and a handmade veteran’s quilt designed and created by Gaston Hospice volunteers.
In the spring of 2019, Gaston Hospice became a Level Two Partner in the We Honor Veterans program. This level requires Partners to not only identify patients with military experience, but conduct veteran-specific outreach in the community. At Gaston Hospice, a volunteer to veteran pairing program called “Vet to Vet” serves as a way to connect patients with volunteer veteran community members. Once paired, the Veterans are able to use their time together to connect through shared experience.
"Having a veteran present at the recognition ceremony to share in that moment means so much to the patient. It's an unspoken brotherhood," said Everett Allen, Gaston Hospice volunteer and Vietnam Veteran. "This program has allowed veteran volunteers to connect with our veteran patients to offer an elevated level of emotional support that others may not be able to provide."
To learn more about the We Honor Veterans program or volunteer opportunities at Gaston Hospice, please call the volunteer coordinator’s office at 704.861.8405.