Amedisys Inc. (NASDAQ:AMED), a leading independent home health, hospice and personal care company, is taking the opportunity on this Veteran's Day to expand its commitment to honor America's dying military veterans with the highest quality end-of-life care.
The company, as the nation's third largest hospice provider, is pledging that all of its 137 hospice care centers nationwide by next year will partner with the "We Honor Veterans" program, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. The initiative brings private-sector hospice providers together with the federal agency and national organization to promote veteran-centric education and improve high quality of care for veterans.
The Company currently has 90 percent of its hospice care centers engaged in the We Honor Veterans program.
Last year, Amedisys gave end-of-life care to 5,540 veterans. Every day, an average of 1,800 American veterans die, about 680,000 per year. One in every four dying Americans is a veteran. Of 19.3 million U.S. veterans in 2016, 9.2 million were 65 years of age and older.
"Veterans confronting the end of life often have unique needs," said Amedisys President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Kusserow. "That means they require hospice care that is equally unique. Our 5,500-strong hospice staff across the country - nurses, social workers, therapists, counselors, chaplains and others - are increasingly making sure that our care is as veteran-centric as possible to meet those needs."
Amedisys is in the forefront of the veteran-centric movement. It operates one of only nine hospice centers in the nation, Beacon Hospice, an Amedisys company, in Hyannis, Massachusetts, that received a Level 5 certification from "We Honor Veterans," representing best practices and the highest designation attainable. Through the program, Amedisys also carries out the following:
- Enables veterans to die wherever they call home - as much a preference among veterans as among the general population.
- Enlists more than 200 volunteers nationwide who are themselves veterans to help care for fellow veterans in hospice.
- Stages pinning ceremonies, sometimes at bedside, to honor veterans at end of life, with family, friends and staff attending, complete with national anthem and salute to our flag.
- Holds veteran-to-veteran "cafes" so that veterans in the community can gather in a spirit of camaraderie for heart-to-heart conversations about life - and possibly about dying.
- Conducts mandatory courses, called "Caring For Our Veterans," to train its clinicians to follow protocols to deliver veteran-centric care to veterans at end of life.
"Our veterans served with dignity and honor and deserve to die with dignity and honor," said Anthony Mollica, Hospice President at Amedisys. "All hospice providers have a significant opportunity to provide more advanced training to build competence when delivering care for this unique population."