Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

November 9, 2011

HCI Care Services working to better serve veterans


Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — One out of every four dying Americans served our country in the military — that’s more than 680,000 veterans each year. HCI Care Services is taking steps to ensure veterans receive specialized care at end-of-life on Veterans Day and throughout the year.

This Veterans Day, the organization is honoring nearly 50 of its patients who are veterans with a framed certificate of recognition for their services. To increase awareness and access to quality palliative care and end-of-life care for all veterans and their families, HCI Care Services co-founded the Hospice-Veteran Partnership of Iowa along with other community-based hospice/palliative care providers, educational institutions and the Veterans Administration.

Earlier this year, HCI Care Services was one of five community hospices nationally to receive a Reaching Out grant from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to expand and increase the quality of care and services provided to veterans coping with life-limiting illnesses.

“This grant has enabled us to impact the lives of the veterans we serve, helping them come to terms with past events and find peace,” said Tray Wade, HCI Care Services vice president of patient and family care.

A portion of the grant funds were used to build the organization’s new Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program, which matches volunteers with military experience with hospice patients who are also veterans. Veteran-to-Veteran volunteers provide companionship while talking, reading and sitting with patients, helping them come to terms with past events and find peace.

“Veterans identify with other veterans,” explained Jim Luder, volunteer outreach coordinator for HCI Care Services’ Veteran-to-Veteran program.  “A connection exists between vets, which often transcends wars and age differences.”

Luder, a retired Brig. General, has spent the much of the last year recruiting volunteers for the program and educating community and veteran-affiliated groups on the need to support veterans at end of life. Veterans interested in volunteering for HCI Care Services’ new Veteran-to-Veteran volunteer program are encouraged to contact him at veterans@hcicareservices.org or (319) 931-3147.

HCI Hospice Care Services is a Partner Level Three of We Honor Veterans, pioneering campaign from NHPCO and the Department of Veterans Affairs to empower hospice professionals to meet the unique needs of dying veterans. The program teaches respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement – to comfort patients with a history of military service and possibly physical or psychological trauma.

For more than 33 years, HCI Care Services (formerly known as Hospice of Central Iowa) has provided, comfort, dignity and peace of mind for those facing serious illnesses. As an independent, not-for-profit organization, we are committed to providing excellent hospice, palliative and private in-home care to patients and compassionate support for their families in 35 counties, whether they live at home, in assisted living facilities, in nursing care facilities, hospitals or our residential hospice facilities, the Kavanagh Houses. To learn more, call us toll-free at 1-800-500-2614, or visit our website: www.hcicareservices.org.