Hope Hospice aims to inform vets of available services
There are many local hospice services for veterans, yet not all of them are aware of what is available, according to Samira Beckwith, chief executive officer and president of Hope Healthcare Services.
Every year an estimated 50,000 veterans die in the United States. Representatives of Hope Hospice want local veterans to enroll in one of their programs to help ease their pain and provide comfort.
Currently there are 202,000 veterans in Southwest Florida, according to Faith Belcher, spokesperson for the Bay Pines VA Health System. The Fort Myers VA clinic services 28,000 local veterans.
“We realized that a lot of people didn’t know about our special veterans program,” said Beckwith. “We have all these programs and services for veterans, but they seem to be a group not aware of what they are entitled to.”
Staff at Hope Hospice receives special training to deal with veterans and their specific needs, she said, because veterans from different eras do not feel the same about medical care.
“Someone who served in the Vietnam era might not feel especially entitled to the recognition and special services they are entitled to,” said Beckwith. “We need to make sure they know how much they are valued.”
She said others do not think they need to receive care or are worried about how they will pay for medication.
“We want them to know about these services,” said Beckwith.
Hope Hospice has added an informational page for veterans on its Web site (www.hopehospice.org) to describe available services. Service counselors from the Department of Veteran Affairs also work with veterans in securing the care they need.
When patients enroll in Hope Hospice the staff ascertains if they are a veteran and if they have seen combat, explained John Strickling, spokesperson for Hope Hospice. If so, they are eligible to receive counseling for post-traumatic stress or any other disorders.
The organization also hands out certificates of appreciation to veterans enrolled in a program.
“America’s veterans have earned our gratitude for their service and dedication. It is our honor and privilege to serve them, ensuring that they receive the care and respect that they deserve,” Beckwith said.