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Hospice Veteran Volunteers Outreach and Support. Recruitment, Utilization and Support. Overview. Goal of Veteran volunteer recruitment: engage Veteran community in improving end-of-life care for Veterans

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Hospice Veteran Volunteers Outreach and Support

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Hospice veteran volunteers outreach and support l.jpg

Hospice Veteran VolunteersOutreach and Support

Recruitment, Utilization and Support


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Overview

  • Goal of Veteran volunteer recruitment: engage Veteran community in improving end-of-life care for Veterans

  • Volunteer coordinator may benefit from expertise in military culture and Veteran end-of-life issues

  • Hospice Veteran volunteer may have issues resurface while working with other Veterans


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Why are Veteran Volunteers Important?

  • Potential for better match of patients and volunteers based on similar areas of interest and background

  • People who have common life experiences usually begin to trust each other

  • Veterans can form a camaraderie that can penetrate their civilian social roles


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Why are Veteran Volunteers Important?

  • The culture of stoicism & societal reactions can discourage Veterans from sharing their war experiences

  • When one Veteran talks to another, stoicism and secrecy may dissolve

  • Veterans share a common language; code of conduct and honor

  • Sharing supports life review and healing


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Recruiting Veteran Volunteers

  • Search for Veterans in your existing volunteer pool

  • Contact Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) and Vet Centers

  • Utilize your Hospice Veteran Partnership to contact VA hospitals, clinics and state Veterans homes


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Recruiting Veteran Volunteers

  • Recruitment fliers and posters sent to senior centers, libraries, corporations, faith institutions, etc.

  • On-line volunteer recruitment (www.volunteermatch.org)

  • Hospice website, newsletters

  • Community newspapers, radio and TV

  • Community events recognizing Veterans


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Screening and Interviewing Veteran Volunteers

  • “Are you a Veteran?”

    • Branch of service, rank

    • Services dates

    • Combat experience?

  • Match Veterans with similar histories for optimal outcomes


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Screening and Interviewing Veteran Volunteers

  • “What significant losses have you had in your life?”

  • “Do you experience post traumatic symptoms or are you in active treatment for PTSD?”

  • “How has your military training and experience influenced your thoughts and feelings about death and dying?”

  • Screening questions help with volunteer placement (patient visits, administrative) assignments


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Cautions about Veteran Volunteers

  • If assigned patients-volunteer may experience troublesome symptoms

  • Also may experience relief of guilt and shame by caring for fellow Veterans

  • Some Veteran volunteers may prefer hospice patients who are not Veterans


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Non-Veteran Volunteers

Hospice volunteers without a military history may want to support Veterans at end of life

  • Had family members who served

  • Raised in a military family

  • Worked closely with the military as a civilian

  • Employed in an organization that serves Veterans

  • Identify Veterans as underserved

  • Committed to no Veteran dying alone


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Training the non-Veteran Volunteer

  • Include Veteran-specific content in volunteer orientation

  • Use resources from www.WeHonorVeterans.org for education

  • Non-Veteran volunteers should consult with the Volunteer Coordinator about a patient that might benefit from a Veteran volunteer


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Utilizing Veteran Volunteers

Assist in Replacing Lost Medals

  • Contact agencies in charge of replacing medals

  • Coordinate the replacement of these medals


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Utilizing Veteran Volunteers

Assist Veterans in Reminiscing/ Telling Life Stories

  • Listen as patient reminisces

  • Record/ videotape patient’s life story

  • Produce a Memory Book or a CD/ DVD

  • Assist Veteran in connecting with the Veteran History Project at www.loc.gov/vets/


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Utilizing Veteran Volunteers

  • Regular volunteer visits for socialization

  • Transportation

  • Education/ Assistance with Veteran Benefits


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Utilizing Veteran Volunteers

Call or visit Veterans on Veterans Day

  • Visit Veterans in their homes, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities or hospitals

  • Veteran volunteers might consider wearing their uniform and take part in the ceremony

  • Volunteers could distribute certificates for Veterans Day

  • Children could make Veteran Day cards for distribution


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Care Settings

  • Community Hospice

    • Home

    • In-patient Care Center

  • Community Nursing Facilities

    • Long Term Care

    • Assisted Living

    • Adult day care

  • VA: Hospital or Nursing Home

  • State Veterans Homes

  • Homeless Shelters


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Working with the VA

  • Volunteer Services

  • Palliative Care Consult Team

  • Community Living Centers


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Advertising Your Veteran Volunteer Program Internally

  • Educate staff on the need of Veterans at the end-of-life

  • Advocate about the benefits of utilizing Veteran volunteers

  • Discuss recruitment and implementation plan with your management team

  • Ask for their assistance and suggestions

  • Hang Veteran volunteer recruitment posters in your office

  • Present your Veteran volunteer program at management meetings

  • Highlight Veterans in your volunteer newsletter


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Advertising Your Veteran Volunteer Program Internally

At Team Meetings

  • Ask if team members know Veterans who might be interested in volunteering

  • Describe the Veteran Volunteer program to the team

  • Share with them the list of Veteran patients on their team and ask if any could use a Veteran volunteer.

  • Report any success stories with Veteran volunteers


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Forming a Veteran Committee or Taskforce

  • Committed group of members

  • Veteran community connections

  • Understanding of Veteran issues

  • Have time to commit

  • Diverse membership that includes Veterans

  • Defined goals


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Supporting Veteran Volunteers

  • IDT meetings

  • Regularly scheduled volunteer support meetings

  • Newsletters

  • Continuing education with Veteran specific content

  • E-mail groups and postings


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Supporting Veteran Volunteers

  • Volunteer coordinators: be aware of signs a Veteran volunteer is having negatives reactions or experiences

  • Reaction could be withdrawal from patient – even without knowing why

  • Volunteer may becomes sad or even depressed

  • May re-live his/her own experience while hearing patient reminisce about their experiences

  • Volunteer may have flashbacks or increased emotional reaction or arousal


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Supporting Veteran Volunteers

Volunteer coordinator could:

  • Describe his/her observations of the volunteer’s reaction

  • Ask leading questions followed by normalizing and validating the volunteer’s experience

  • Organize a Veteran volunteer support group.

  • Suggest the volunteer take a break, visit less often, or change to administrative tasks

  • If serious, refer the volunteer for counseling or other assistance


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Recognizing Veteran Volunteers

  • Highlight your Veteran volunteers

    • in articles/newsletters

    • at volunteer recognition events

  • Order a presidential proclamation on Veterans Day at www.whitehouse.gov


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Recognizing Veteran Volunteers

  • Acknowledge your Veteran volunteers on Veteran’s Day (gifts, certificates)

  • Ask hospice staff and management to call your Veteran volunteers and thank them for both their volunteer service and their service to the country

  • Share Volunteer information with your staff:

    • What branch of the military did they serve in and what their rank was?

    • Did they serve in any wars?

    • What are their contact numbers?

    • What are the best times to call them?


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