A Flag for a Veteran - Heart 'n Home Hospice & Palliative Care, LLC

A Flag for a Veteran

I recently had a patient pass away and I went to the home to deliver the bereavement packet and provide support to the wife.  While there, we filled out the paperwork so she could get the flag for his services.   This is usually something the funeral home does, but this family chose a body donation service so I was able to help them.  Of course, because of our amazing office staff, I had the forms in the Military Honors Packet and was able to easily access what was needed.  I made arrangements with the family to deliver the flag to them this Wednesday.  Anyway, with the completed form, I went to Connie Tanaka at the Veteran’s service office as he was going to obtain the flag.  Later that day I returned to pick up the flag and found that the flag is delivered in a plain cardboard box and needed to be folded.  Connie says “do you want to help me fold it?”  Of course, my first thought was that I didn’t know how to do this, that I may not be qualified, etc., but presenting it to the family in a cardboard box just was not going to do.  While assisting with folding this flag I was reminded of all of the things I see on Facebook about people burning the flag, not honoring the flag, and most recently, not standing for the flag.  What I experienced and felt was this reverence that was beyond what I have ever felt in my 24 years as a Social Worker.  I felt a HUGE sense of responsibility.  This flag is for someone who was willing to lay their life down for this country, for our freedom … this is a VERY significant deal!  As I took this flag with me, and because I am not delivering it to the family until tomorrow, the weight of what I was carrying was heavy.  I knew I needed to honor it, to take care of it, to make sure that nothing happened to it.  I will continue to hold these thoughts until it is safely delivered to the family of this man who fought for my freedom.

In hospice, we get to have some experiences that shape us, change us, guide us, remind us, inspire us … and this is one of those for me.  I appreciate the experiences I get to have and this one goes in the books as a great reminder of the importance of what we do.

Sharla P., LSW, GC-C
Medical Social Services
Fruitland Heart ‘n Home Hospice & Palliative Care

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Love Your Freedom? Thank a Veteran!

Love Your Freedom? Thank a Veteran!

“The Veteran in front of you may never have been thanked for their service.” -NHPCO

This November 11th when you wake in the morning, take a moment to be grateful that you live in the “land of the free and home of the brave.” Since virtually the beginning of time, men and women around the world have gone to battle to fight for justice and the right to live as we choose. Love your freedom? Don’t take it for granted. Thank a Veteran.

At Heart ‘n Home, Veterans Day has special meaning. For one thing, a number of our employees and Volunteers are military Veterans, and many of our employees have family members who have served or are serving today.  Our military Veteran patients truly inspire, affirm, and teach us every day, every time. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Heart ‘n Home patients have served every branch of the military.
  • Our patients served in WWII, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and Middle East.
  • When the Army rejected him for flat feet, one of our patients joined the US Coast Guard “…to do my part.”
  • At least one of our patients witnessed the raising of the American flag at Iwo Jima.
  • At least one of our patients worked with the Navajo Code Talkers.
  • At least one of our patients was an Army Nurse during WWII.

And the list goes on. At Heart ‘n Home, we recognize that each Veteran has a unique story and that’s why we partner with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Veterans Administration to honor our Veteran patients with the best Veteran-centric end-of-life care available. As a Level 4 We Honor Veterans participant, our Veteran patients are guided toward a more peaceful ending by experts who address their physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns related to the military service experience. Our employees use a Military History Checklist to understand and treat the unique needs of each Veteran patient. One of our most important events is the Veteran Recognition and Pinning Ceremony, an opportunity for family, friends, and Heart ‘n Home to say “Thank you for your service.” For many Veterans, it’s the only time anyone has ever said it.

This Veterans Day, look for Heart ‘n Home in the Bend and La Grande, Oregon community parades! And, if you’re in La Grande, after the parade stop by the local American Legion Post 43 (301 Fir Street) for spaghetti where several of our employees will be ready to serve you a hot meall! In La Pine, Heart ‘n Home will host a Veteran who will speak to a group of elementary schoolchildren who will then present Heart ‘n Home with hand-drawn pictures (framed with a poem of thanks) to our military Veteran patients. La Pine Heart ‘n Home will also attend “Wreaths for Veterans” at the La Pine Cemetery (16345 Sixth Street) on Veterans Day.

Learn more about how Heart ‘n Home Honors Veterans



folder_openInspiring Stories
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When I went to visit a Veteran/Patient of Heart ‘n Home one of the first things he told me about was his pinning ceremony from the Heart ‘n Home Veterans Liaison, and he had to take me to his room to show me his certificate.  He got very tearful sharing about the folks who came to honor him and present him with the pin and certificate.  He said “I didn’t think anybody gave a damn.”  It means so much for him to know that someone is thankful for his service and for him in general.

– Heart ‘n Home Spiritual Care Provider

Honoring Veterans on November 11th and Every Day

folder_openHonoring Veterans at End of Life
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Americans across the country celebrate Veterans Day on November 11, a special day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country in the military. These fellow Americans have made profound sacrifices in defense of freedom and they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation. Honoring our nation’s Veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives, especially at the end.

As our nation marks Veterans Day, Heart ‘n Home deepens our commitment to increase Veterans’ access to compassionate, high quality care. One of the ways we’re making this happen is through our active involvement with We Honor Veterans, an innovative program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization that was created in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

There is something else that’s important for every American to do – and that is to say, “thank you” to our country’s Veterans. Not just on November 11, but all year long. Ask your friends, neighbors, coworkers and others in your community whether they have served in the military (you may be surprised how many have) and thank those who have served for their sacrifice.

It surprises many Americans to learn that every day, 1,800 Veterans die. That’s more than 680,000 Veterans every year – or 25 percent of all the people who die in this country annually. If you know a Veteran who is in need of the special care hospice brings to people facing serious and life-limiting illness, please reach out and help them learn more about care options by contacting Heart ‘n Home at 1-800-HOSPICE (800-467-7423).

To all our nation’s Veterans,

Thank you.


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