Veteran Specific Care

AMOREM’s Service Podcast serves the mission to provide quality, thoughtful, loving care to patients and support to their families and to offer education and grief support to communities served. This podcast is intended to transform the way that people view and experience serious illness and end-of-life.

In episode 4 of AMOREM’s Service Podcast, Veteran Specific Care, AMOREM’s Chief Clinical Officer, Anna Blanton, guides a conversation about veteran-specific care in the hospice and palliative care setting.

The first thing that Blanton touches on in episode 4 is AMOREM’s affiliation with the We Honor Veterans Program. WHV is a national collaboration between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veteran Affairs. The program came to be out of necessity to care for veterans. This partnership was born to provide education and resources to hospice organizations to care for veterans appropriately at the end of life.

AMOREM has been affiliated with WHV for more than a decade. The organization has engaged in various veteran-centered activities, trainings and educational sessions to ensure that veteran patients receiving care through AMOREM are receiving the highest quality care possible for their unique needs.

Blanton explains that AMOREM has taken the program a step further by creating an independent program called Veterans Honoring Veterans that is housed under the organization’s volunteer services department. This program provides direct patient support and contact from a veteran volunteer. This adds a layer of support for veteran patients through recognition and relatability. Veterans Honoring Veterans provides a ceremony for veteran patients under AMOREM services at which a veteran volunteer presents a veteran patient with an American flag, a lapel pen and a certificate of service. Blanton emphasizes that the key component of this program is providing veteran-specific support through the utilization of other veterans in the community.

Blanton takes the conversation about veteran-specific care deeper by explaining the use of the Military Checklist in a clinical care plan. The incorporation of the Military Checklist in a patient’s plan of care is to help clinicians better understand each variable that a patient and veteran may have experienced or is currently experiencing as far as their psychosocial, mental and physical health needs. This checklist observes things like a hospice patient’s time in service, what branch they served in, their exposure to various service-related elements and their current experience within the VA healthcare system. The Military Checklist acts as an essential guide in obtaining information necessary for a hospice care team to provide the support that a veteran specifically needs under AMOREM services.

A few things that a veteran hospice patient may experience that would differ from a civilian hospice patient are:

  • Trauma Scenarios
  • Exposure to life-threatening events
  • Environmental Hazards

Knowing any of the listed unique needs helps AMOREM care teams deliver specialized care to patients and their families. These pieces of information about a veteran patient’s past experiences can direct how the hospice care team may intervene.

There are also many challenges that a veteran patient may be experiencing as they enter end-of-life care. Some of these challenges include things like moral injury or post-traumatic stress-related conditions. Long-term mental health barriers can be present post-combat, post-war or simply post-military. Initially, AMOREM care teams will establish a level of comfort with a veteran patient and explain to them that the organization has many resources available for their specific and unique care needs.

Internally, at AMOREM, all new employees go through veteran-specific training to ensure that they are equipped to care for the unique needs of veteran patients. AMOREM utilizes the We Honor Veterans resource library as a toolkit and performs in-depth complex case analysis as needed to provide the tools and resources necessary for AMOREM teams to provide the highest quality care to veteran patients and their families.

Blanton stresses that to have these conversations about care with veteran patients, the care teams must be trauma-informed about how they build trust with a patient and family and begin to build on how AMOREM care teams can support the patient and family effectively through each stage of the patient’s care.

Another point that Blanton raises is in relevance to access to veteran-specific care. She explains that care teams at AMOREM are skilled in connecting veteran patients and their families with resources and community organizations that they might not have previously known about. A large part of the AMOREM care team’s responsibility is to create linkages between veteran patients and these outside resources.

After an AMOREM care team assesses a veteran patient with assistance from the Military Checklist, a plan of care for the patient is created. Blanton points out that due to a large amount of stoicism in the veteran community, AMOREM care teams attempt to allow the veteran to guide their level of comfort and preferences to really shape this plan of care. Another element is the patient’s emotional and spiritual comfort. This is where the care team begins to pull on the entire interdisciplinary team. They call on chaplains, social workers and volunteers to boost a patient’s spiritual or emotional health.

This plan of care created by AMOREM teams is evolutionary throughout the time a patient is receiving services from AMOREM. Needs can change from one day to the next or be present one day and eliminated the next. There is constant assessment of the patient under care and the team is constantly making sure that they are prioritizing what is important to the patient and their family.

Blanton encourages veteran community members to engage with AMOREM’s Veterans Honoring Veterans Program and the national We Honor Veterans Program. The easiest way to become involved with AMOREM’s Veterans Honoring Veterans Program is to apply to become an AMOREM volunteer. This will allow for you to provide care by the bedside to fellow veterans and engage in meaningful ceremonies to honor veteran hospice patients and their service to the United States.

Lastly, Blanton stresses that if you are a veteran or love a veteran, reach out for help. Veteran resources are not always easily accessible but, through AMOREM, resources, tools and external organizations are readily available for veteran patients and their families.

If you are interested in becoming a veteran volunteer through AMOREM, please contact Cyndi Akins at or visit to learn more.

AMOREM’s Service Podcast is proudly brought to you by AMOREM, your local, nonprofit, hospice and palliative care provider. AMOREM has provided services to the community for more than 40 years, formerly as Burke Hospice and Palliative Care and Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, and has served the High Country for more than 10 years. To learn more or to make a referral, visit or call 828.754.0101 to speak with a local team member.