Veterans – 2015
by – Sheri de Grom
A veteran, possibly in your community, needs your help.
Veteran Affairs coordinates volunteers in their No Veteran Dies Alone (NVDA) program.
Their mission is that no veteran will die alone.
We promise to take care of all veterans during life and in death. Many believe the ‘death’ portion of the promise refers to the burial benefits to which a veteran is entitled.
The NVDA volunteer program is an extension of the VA Hospice or Palliative Care Programs. For a veteran to qualify for the volunteer program he/she must participate in the VA Hospice or Palliative Care Program.
Many VA Hospitals lack sufficient bed space and comfort for this end-of-life population and the veterans are placed in community nursing homes where Hospice care is available. In many cases the care is available from their homes.
Often our veterans have out-lived their family and friends or the military lifestyle itself has wounded in ways that veterans find themselves estranged from their families.
Veterans represent 11% of the civilian adult population, but veterans make up 26% of the homeless population. It’s not surprising to learn a veteran has broken ties with family members long ago and the areas of the country where they used to live are as foreign as the battlefields where they once served.
Many veterans presenting to the VA for care are fearful of the agency that’s let them down so many times before.
Many veterans have gone without medical care for well over twenty years for any number of reasons. Often they haven’t had: transportation, lived too far away, couldn’t get an appointment and had no one to assist them in fighting the bureaucracy that is the VA
By the time a veteran actually makes it in the door of a VA Medical Center, often the only treatment remaining is to make him/her as comfortable as possible. Advanced disease processes have consumed their bodies.
Volunteers are needed to sit with veterans, read or talk to them, play music and sometimes offering a physical presence by holding the veteran’s hand.
The NVDA program is about good conversation, positive interaction, spiritual support, reminiscing, life review, therapeutic touch and an overall sense of connectedness and closure.
Volunteers are needed. When our soldiers come home, they shouldn’t have to die alone.
To participate as a volunteer in NVDA, visit http://www.volunteer.va.gov/ and fill out a volunteer application.
I thank you in advance for caring about our nation’s veterans.