Suncoast Hospice, a member of Empath Health, has been awarded the We Honor Veterans 5-Star Partner designation. This is the highest level an organization can receive from We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The We Honor Veterans program’s goal is to help hospices with training and resources to best provide care and honor veterans at the end of their lives.
Obtaining this designation is a year-long process and includes fully integrating veteran-specific content into staff and volunteer training, specific staff training centered around Vietnam Veterans, hosting at least five community events and creating tools and specific procedures to serve veterans as they are admitted to hospice. Suncoast Hospice staff are now also available to mentor other hospices and community partners about serving veterans.
Melissa Moré, Empath Health’s Director of Volunteer Services and head of the agency’s veterans efforts said, ”Despite the challenges of 2020 that the COVID-19 pandemic brought, Suncoast Hospice was able to look for new ways to bridge gaps in knowledge, forge new relationships, celebrate and thank veterans and provide support and resources.”
Empath Honors veterans program was first created to serve veteran hospice patients and families but has evolved into a broader effort as part of the agency’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategic initiative. Veterans are honored and served throughout Empath Health’s member programs including Suncoast PACE, Empath Home Health, EPIC (HIV services and support) and Empath Palliative Care.
Karen Davis-Pritchett, Vice President of Access & Inclusion for Empath Health said, “veterans often face many unique challenges at the end of their lives or while dealing with chronic illness and/or grief. As an organization, we are committed to serving them and their families who have also given up so much for our nation.”
About Empath Health
Empath Health is a nonprofit integrated network of care that provides expert, life-changing health care to those with chronic and advanced illnesses. Empath Health includes hospice, home health and physician services, independent living assistance and day care for seniors, HIV services and advance care planning. Contact Empath Health at (727) 467-7423 or EmpathHealth.org.
About We Honor Veterans
We Honor Veterans, a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), invites hospices, state hospice organizations, Hospice-Veteran Partnerships and VA facilities to join a pioneering program focused on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgment. By recognizing the unique needs of America’s Veterans and their families, community providers, in partnership with VA staff, will learn how to accompany and guide them through their life stories toward a more peaceful ending.