Hospice care is a benefit for terminally-ill veterans who have a VHA Standard Medical Benefits Package. This means they can get medical and social help with no co-pays in the last months of their life.
A quarter of all the deaths in the U.S. are of American veterans. Veterans take on unique risks in the line of duty, not just in combat situations. They can also be exposed to environmental hazards that are not encountered by the public.
Open air pits were used at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to dispose of waste, including electrical equipment, plastics, metal and even human remains. The toxic soup billowed into the air to be breathed in by the thousands of troops who were deployed there.
While the health effects of these open pits have yet to be confirmed, many of the troops who returned home later developed cancer and other debilitating and life-limiting illnesses.
Honoring Terminally Ill Veterans
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides hospice benefits for all insured veterans. If the care is given by the VA or a care organization affiliated with them, the care is free of charge except for insurance premiums.
Hospice care for veterans in Indiana aims to support ill veterans and their families by providing:
- Nursing services at home – Administration of medications, pain relief, oxygen and fluids
- Physical therapy, if necessary
- Private transportation to and from hospital appointments
- Links to social workers, if necessary
- Social visits or transportation to outings by a volunteer.
- End of life counseling for the patient and his family to help them deal with the situation
- Help with household chores and self-care
For veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer and other terminal illnesses, the hospice benefit can provide medical, social, and spiritual care, enabling them to enjoy their final moments with their family.