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Veteran's hospice benefit

Veterans Day is a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Our national demographics are clearly changing to indicate that the face of America is aging and with it the face of America's veterans.

Anthony J. Principi, past Secretary, United Sates Department of Veterans Affairs stated that "the battles they fought with guns and grenades have faded into the fog of history...but the battles they now fight against the physical and mental challenges of aging demand a range of services and interventions."

Dying Veterans are our family members, neighbors, friends and co-workers, yet many Americans aren't aware of the service these loved ones have given to the nation. America's promise to our country's veterans was stated in President Abraham Lincoln's Civil War promise "to care for him who shall have borne the battle...."

November 11 is Veterans Day, a time to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served our country. The active duty of our military personnel across the globe has brought increasing awareness of the price these men and women often pay. This national awareness should include care and support to help dying Veterans live as fully as possible during their final days, long after their military service may have ended. Hospices and palliative care providers are actively doing this with the assistance of the Veterans Administration Hospice and Palliative Care Initiative and organizations such as the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.

These organizations are working together to enhance and strengthen relationships between VA and non-VA health care organizations that care for people at the end of life. And the number of Veterans needing care is growing.

Reported by the VA Health System, Veterans ages 75 and older will increase by 12 percent by the year 2010, from 4 million to 4.5 million, and veterans 85 years and older will triple, from 422,000 to 1.3 million during that same period. These men and women are dying in the homes and communities in which they live. Hospices are providing a critical link in the care of these Veterans. Hospices bring care and support to where the patient needs it-that may be home, a nursing home or assisted living facility. Hospice is an important role in helping these Americans find peace and the compassionate care they deserve.

As neighbors, friends and family members, there is a role every American can play to improve care. If you know a veteran who is in need of the special care hospice provides, serve them by reaching out and helping them learn more about hospice.

Contact Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care for information about hospice by calling 509-837-1676 or 1-800-474-6008. Hospice care is now a covered benefit for all enrolled veterans who have applied and are verified.

On this Veterans Day, we can honor our nation's veterans by supporting them throughout their lives, even at life's end. Lower Valley Hospice and Palliative Care is here for YOU!

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