This Veteran’s Day

Jose Narosky is quoted as saying, “In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.”

Many veterans we care for at Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro (HPCG) come to us with complex feelings about their military experience. No longer battling for their country, they instead are battling serious illness. It is our role as trained hospice workers to guide them through this journey respectfully and compassionately, while recognizing the individual medical and psychosocial needs that can arise at the end of life.

According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), more than 1,800 American veterans die every day. Last year at HPCG, 333 of our patients were veterans, representing 20.5 percent of our total patients served.

If, as Narosky says, “there are no unwounded soldiers,” then we at HPCG believe it is imperative to open our hearts to the many veterans who wish to share their stories at the end of life. These are stories often filled with mixed emotions: sacrifice, pride, pain, suffering, grief and loss.

As a national We Honor Veteran’s partner, our hospice teams are trained to understand that many veterans never wish to appear weak or admit pain, even in the midst of great suffering. We pair veteran volunteers with our veteran patients, because they often know best how to support a fellow service member in the way they desire.

This Veterans Day, we join with our community to honor the men and women who served us. This day and every day, I encourage each of us—whether we are trained professionals or not—to open our hearts in understanding to the stories of veterans among us.

And if you are a veteran who is interested in becoming one of our Vet-to-Vet volunteers, please call 336.621.2500.

 

 

 

Kristen Yntema
President and CEO of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro