Hospice Care for Veterans


Military service members return home with unique challenges, shaped by their experiences in combat. While some of these issues persist over time, there is a remarkable strength in how they cope. Often, they carry the weight of their wartime memories silently, shielding loved ones from the pain. However, in moments of vulnerability—perhaps during a hospice conversation with a compassionate nurse, volunteer, or clergy member—their hearts find solace as healing begins.

We Honor Veterans Program

We’re proud to say that 95% of our hospice care centers participate in the We Honor Veterans program to offer special hospice services for veterans.

We Honor Veterans is a national awareness campaign conducted by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Its goal is to help hospice professionals better understand the challenges veterans may be facing due to illness, isolation or traumatic life experiences and guide them to a more peaceful death.

Is hospice the answer for you or a loved one? Complete our brief form to speak to a specialist.

*If you are a current Amedisys patient, please contact your Care Center directly.

Here are just some of the ways Amedisys pays tribute to our veteran patients:

  • A full military history so we can individualize hospice care for every veteran patient
  • Personalized care plan that addresses unique end-of-life issues facing veterans such as post-traumatic stress disorder, survivor guilt and chronic pain
  • Provide medication, supplies and equipment depending on Veteran needs
  • Specialized training that equips our teams with military cultural competence
  • Special ceremonies and services such as Vet-to-Vet cafes, We Honor Veterans pinning ceremonies, support groups and assistance with Veteran Honor Flights
  • Special recognition and honors on military commemorative dates, such as plaques, poems or gift bags

Hospices earn their We Honor Veterans levels (1 through 4) in the program by completing activities that increase awareness while educating caregivers and community members on the unique issues facing veterans at the end of life. The higher the level, the better able the hospice agency is to meet the needs of veterans. That designation is used to help Veterans Affairs staff and veterans identify hospices that have made a commitment to offering veteran-specific care and services.

Hospice programs honor veterans in different ways, but there should be special acts to acknowledge their services. Some examples of how Amedisys honors veterans includes:

Veterans’ Parades

Depending on the hospice center, many communities have special parades on Veterans Day or Memorial Day to honor Veterans. One year, an Amedisys location rented a trolley so veteran patients could ride in the veterans parade. It was an honorable experience for all involved as they all had tears in their eyes as the crowd clapped and thanked them for their service.

Veteran Support Groups

Amedisys offers virtual and in-person bereavement support groups tailored to friends and family after they have lost a loved one. We offer tools and resources needed to manage grief.

Operation Adopt a Soldier

In certain locations, our hospice programs adopt a military family in need each year at Christmas and buy gifts from the children’s wish list.

Veteran Pinning Ceremonies

 In honor of their service and the sacrifice made for our country, family members and staff watch veterans receive a plaque or certificate and pin.

How Hospice Helps Treat Veterans’ Unique Challenges

Our staff is trained in how to talk to veterans when addressing their unique end-of-life needs. Here are some of the common challenges veterans face:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Veterans with PTSD may relive terrifying events and experience nightmares, insomnia and loss of interest in usual activities. Sometimes, symptoms of a terminal illness and opioid medications used to manage pain can further trigger or worsen PTSD symptoms.

Hospice care offers a safe, non-judgmental and therapeutic environment to share difficult feelings, professional support and guidance for family members on how to care for a veteran with PTSD, medication management with a nurse and physician, counseling with a social worker and connection with veteran volunteers.

Chronic Pain

Many veterans face chronic pain due to the physical demands of military service and often times demonstrate stoicism to hide its effects.

Hospice care works to provide ongoing monitoring and pain assessment, pain-relieving medications and devices and relaxation techniques through music, art and more.

Survivor’s Guilt

Grief that goes unresolved throughout life may re-emerge and manifest at the end of life. Veterans may experience sadness, shock, emptiness and guilt. Hospice care’s access to medical social workers, veteran volunteers and guidance for family members helps ease this extended grieving process.

Substance Abuse/Addiction Recovery

Some veterans may have turned to drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope with trauma from military service. The hospice care team helps by consulting on alternative medication options, in the event the medications normally used for pain management were previously abused, and veteran-to-veteran companionship.

Veteran Hospice Volunteers

Veterans share a special bond with one another, acknowledging a common culture and language. With our veteran volunteers, patients can let their guard down and trust someone else with their stories. Veteran Volunteers may provide some of the following services:

  • Companionship from someone with similar service experiences
  • Respite care so family members and caregivers can take a break
  • Help understanding and accessing veteran benefits
  • Telephone check-in calls
  • Veteran to veteran letters

Learn more about becoming a hospice volunteer.

Others who volunteer that are not veterans receive training from the We Honor Veterans “No Veteran Dies Alone” program.

Hospice Care Team for Veterans

Our interdisciplinary hospice teams are made up of caring professionals. We are passionate about giving veterans high-quality, compassionate care at the end of their lives and showing our appreciation for their service. Depending on each veteran’s needs, patients may benefit from the expertise of:

  • A hospice nurse to manage pain and other symptoms
  • Hospice aide who helps with daily care
  • Social worker who supports emotional needs and works through practical issues
  • Veteran-to-veteran volunteer who provides camaraderie, check-ins and respite care
  • Bereavement counselor to support families as they cope with grief
  • Chaplain for emotional and spiritual support

Is Hospice the Answer?

If you’re ready to speak to a hospice specialist, complete the form below or call a care center near you from our location directory.

You can also complete our brief hospice care assessment to help determine if you or a loved one may be eligible.

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