"The veterans we serve today have survived the battles - battles they fought to preserve our freedom. It is our privilege and our responsibility to be there for them, to offer comfort, support and care as they face their final days. Together, with pride and urgency, we steadfastly pursue our VA mission in hospice and palliative care - to honor veterans' preferences for care at the end of life." Dr. Thomas Edes, MD, MS, FACP, Chief, Home & Community Based Care, Offices of Geriatrics and Extended Care, Department of Veterans Affairs.
With a focus on improving end-of-life care for veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs established the VA Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative (VAHPC) in November of 2001. One of the programs launched by VAHPC is the National Hospice-Veteran Partnership (HVP) Program. HVPs are coalitions of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, community hospices, end-of-life care or community organizations and others, working together to ensure that excellent end-of-life care is available for our nation's veterans and their families.
HVPs are statewide or community-based partnerships dedicated to increasing veterans' access to hospice and palliative care. Their goals are to strengthen relationships between community hospices and VA providers and educate veterans and their caregivers about end-of-life care options.
The HVP in Ohio is hosted by Midwest Care Alliance. Participants include VA and community health providers as well as other organizations that share the vision of improving end-of-life care for veterans and their families. Ohio HVP has developed a strategic plan to best serve veterans in its area. The following activities are examples of the many ways a partnership can have a positive impact.
- Conducting assessments to determine veterans' needs in the community
- Sharing information with veterans' groups about advance care planning, available resources, and care options
- Holding statewide events to educate community hospice providers and VA facilities about opportunities for partnership
- Establishing networks of mentors and experts to assist community hospices and VA facilities with staff and program development
- Developing speakers' bureaus for outreach activities to veterans service organizations, community agencies, and VA facilities
- Educating community agencies about veterans' issues and benefits
- Holding town meetings for veterans and their caregivers