Hospice of the Foothills to host veterans’ care program | TheUnion.com

Hospice of the Foothills to host veterans’ care program

In observance of Veterans Day, Hospice of the Foothills will host a special program on Thursday that addresses the advanced end-of-life care needs of veterans. A video, “Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and Death,” produced by the Hospice Foundation of America, will be shown at 2:15 p.m. in the Kerby Conference Room at Hospice.

Moderated by former ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr, the video explores the unique needs of veterans facing chronic illness and death. A panel of local veterans affairs’ experts will follow the video with a live discussion beginning at 5 p.m.

The “Improving Care for Veterans” video explores ways of enhancing the sensitivity and understanding of veterans’ special end-of-life needs among those who oversee or care for them. This includes care provider facilities and organizations, health and human services professionals, Veterans Affairs’ systems and other government agencies. New, more timely interventions and resources to better assist dying veterans and their families are also explored.

This presentation is one of a series of Hospice Foundation of America’s educational programs hosted by Hospice of the Foothills in recent years as a community service.

Cynthia Meilicke, Allied Services supervisor, said the program is designed for a broad spectrum of community resource and care providers and is also suited to family members and loved ones.

“In past years, following the video, we have had lively discussions between participants and panel members on topics such as ethics and spirituality at end of life,” she said. “This year, the opportunity to glean wisdom from the unique caring needs of veterans will undoubtedly have general applications for the broader population.”

Hospice of the Foothills serves more than 150 veterans and their families annually, said Executive Director Vanessa Bengston.

“We are reminded that military families make many sacrifices and experience many losses — not only deaths, but also permanent disabilities, separations due to distant deployments and economic and family hardships related to duty station assignments,” she said.

“We are privileged to come alongside their physicians, caregivers, families and loved ones to better meet their specific needs.”

Hospice of the Foothills has gathered a panel of local experts to participate in an informed discussion of the end-of-life needs of veterans and new ways of addressing those needs presented in the video. Panelists include Rev. Dennis Fruzza, Veterans Service Office chaplain; Page Brown, who specializes in military related trauma treatment; and Pam Davinson, CalWORKS program manager and County Veteran Services officer.

Fruzza is a disabled veteran himself who is participating on the panel because, he said, “It’s important for caregivers to understand some wartime behaviors that vets may revert back to towards the end of their lives. This education could put us one step ahead in the care of vets and how to be of help to them and their families.”

For more information, call 530-272-5739.

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