Hospice Education at Iron Mountain VA

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain today hosted the Hospice Foundation of America’s 2013 Living With Grief® Program.

The session was directed toward clinicians, administrators, chaplains, social workers, nurses, case managers, counselors, physicians, and other staff working in hospice and palliative care, hospitals, long-term care and assisted living facilities.

Oscar Johnson VA Medical Center palliative care coordinator Selena Okler says she’s pleased the Hospice Foundation chose veterans’ care as the subject of the program this year, since veterans have some unique end-of-life needs that civilians don’t have.

Okler says many of the needs originate from the constant state of physical and emotional readiness that soldiers need to maintain during their service.

She says the sense of readiness often never leaves, even decades after a veteran’s service.

The program focused on “Improving Care for Veterans Facing Illness and Death.” It was designed to assist end-of-life care provider organizations and health and human service professionals in enhancing their sensitivities and understanding of veterans and to provide professionals with new interventions to better serve dying veterans and their families. The program also works to consider military benefits and intersections with VA systems.

Part of the program was moderated by Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University.

“This Hospice of Foundation of America program will assist both the VA Medical Center and its health care partners in the community in improving end-of-life care for Veterans and their families through interventions, local resources, and enhancing day-to-day interactions,” said Andrea Collins, Associate Director for Nursing and Patient Care.

Each year the Hospice Foundation of America (HFA) presents a nationally recognized distance learning program to more than 125,000 people in 2,000 communities. For more than a decade, this annual educational event has been instrumental in educating healthcare professionals and families on issues affecting end-of-life care.