In 2015, Liberty Hospice launched the We Honor Veterans program, an initiative established by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The program is a demonstration of Liberty Hospice’s commitment to offering veteran-specific care and services provided by a competent and highly skilled workforce.
Each veteran who enters care with Liberty Hospice is recognized at a We Honor Veterans service. Held either at his or her bedside or wherever the veteran is comfortable, he or she is recognized with an individual certificate and a pin marking their service.
Having served three years of active duty in the US Army Military Police Corps, Karynjean Dickhoff, chaplain for Liberty Hospice, understands how important this service is for veterans and their families. She also believes that acknowledging the shared bond of military service makes veterans more comfortable with receiving gratitude for their service.
“Many call it a ‘quiet understanding’”, said Karynjean. “No matter the age difference, branch of service, or conflicts fought, whenever veterans meet, there is a respect and trust that is instantly formed.”
Joe* was with Liberty Hospice for only seven days. During that brief time, Karynjean held a We Honor Veterans service for him with his wife and daughter at his side. At first, Joe was reluctant to see a chaplain.
On the day of the ceremony, those in attendance thanked him for his service. When Karynjean thanked him and shared her story of service, Joe asked a simple question, “Who has thanked you today?” He and Karynjean formed a bond, which his family found comforting and valuable throughout his time with Liberty Hospice.
Joe’s story is just one of many examples of how Liberty Hospice continues to honor and support veterans.
Annette Conran, director of Liberty Hospice, has stayed in touch with Joe’s family. “After speaking with his wife and daughter, it was clear how much the We Honor Veterans program meant to Joe,” said Annette. “They shared he took comfort in the connection he made with Karynjean and our staff.”
In 2018, Liberty Hospice looks forward to building on its current capacities to further master the We Honor Veterans four levels of commitment. According to NHPCO, these levels include providing veteran-centric education for staff and volunteers, building organizational capacity to provide quality care for vets, developing and strengthening relationships with VA medical centers and other veteran organizations, and increasing access and improving quality of care for veterans in the community.