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Great Lakes Caring Hospice Achieves Level One Partner Milestone With We Honor Veterans Program

Great Lakes Caring Hospice, one of the largest and most trusted health care providers in the United States, achieved level-one participation in the We Honor Veterans (WHV) Partner Program sponsored by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

There are nearly 2,000 U.S. hospice care agencies that participate in the We Honor Veterans Partner Program, yet only one-quarter of them have reached level-one status. All Great Lakes Caring Hospice Branches in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are now recognized as level-one partners with the We Honor Veterans Partner Program.

“The Great Lakes Caring Hospice company-wide participation in the We Honor Veterans Partner Program demonstrates our commitment to improving hospice patient care and recognizing the special needs of our veteran patients,” said Great Lakes Caring CEO William Deary.

After educating staff and volunteers and building organizational capacity for veterans during the initial phase, Great Lakes Caring Hospice developed and strengthened relationships with VA medical centers and other veteran organizations within its level-one partnership.

“It may surprise many people to learn that 25 percent of those who die every year in the U.S. are veterans. As a We Honor Veterans Level-One Partner, Great Lakes Caring Hospice will continue to implement ongoing veteran-centered education for our staff and volunteers, as well as conduct community outreach to help improve the quality of life for the veterans we proudly serve. Our nation is seeing many of the veterans who served in World War II and the Korean War pass away—and the number of deaths of Vietnam Veterans is beginning to rise. Through this program, we can better understand their specific hospice and palliative health care needs,” added Deary, whose father and mother were both United States Navy Veterans.                        

“All hospices serve veterans, but the agencies may not be aware of an individual’s military service in the American armed forces. Through our We Honor Veterans Partner Program, NHCPO is taking a giant step forward in helping hospice, palliative care professionals, and volunteers understand and serve veterans during their end of life,” said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO.

“One component of the partner program, which has been incorporated within Great Lakes Caring Hospice facilities is a veteran pinning ceremony that has had a significant impact on our veteran patients. During the pinning ceremony, one of our Great Lakes Caring Hospice staff or volunteers, presents the hospice veteran with a certificate of appreciation for his or her service and a pin of the American Flag that symbolizes their dedication to our country,” said Cheryl Karasek, Great Lakes Caring Hospice volunteer coordinator for the Jackson and Adrian, MI branches.

This year, Great Lakes Caring has pinned more than 200 U.S. Veterans “Becoming a We Honor Veterans Program Partner has been a very positive experience for our veterans, families, and especially our staff. The veteran pinning ceremony is one aspect of the We Honor Veterans Partner Program that has a direct effect on our veteran patients. I have seen how proud they are when receiving a pin or certificate and thanking them for their service to our country,” added Karasek.  

About We Honor Veterans (wehonorveterans.org)
The web-based program and partnership of the NHPCO and VA, provides educational tools and resources to organizations who advance the goal of serving Veterans’ end of life needs’ by increasing access and improving quality of care as well as veteran-centric educational activities for health care providers across the country.

About Great Lakes Caring
Great Lakes Caring is one of the Midwest’s premier providers of a continuum of care, consisting of hospice, home health, palliative care, and home medical equipment. Our care services are delivered with an unparalleled level of superior quality by our exceptionally dedicated team of health care professionals to more than 7,000 patients across Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Our intimate approach to caring for our patients, along with our extraordinary pursuit of next generation health care technologies and innovative care services, drives more than 3,000 loyal physicians to entrust their patients’ care to Great Lakes Caring.  For more information go to GreatlakesCaring.com or call 800-311-5365.