The state’s VA hospital is now ready to help veteran patients fight a different battle– that is, approaching the end of life through failing health and aging.
Each day, 1700 soldiers from World War II die across the country.
A first time service for the Dorn VA hospital in Columbia, called the Warrior’s Walk, is a new approach to hospice and palliative care for the special needs of soldiers. The new facility held an open house on Wednesday. Debra Layer is the program director.
She says,”It is an extremely important and growing need because we have veterans who are dying daily. Many are receiving services in their community, but we are finding that the needs are such that they need to have more support.”
That support comes in the form of end-of-life sensitivity: being aware of and attentive to what veterans have been through in their lives.
“Veterans who have gone through combat experience, veterans who have come back from combat with not only physical injuries, but emotional and psychological injuries, like post-traumatic stress syndrome,” explains Layer.
Layer says the new Warrior’s Walk is softer and more homelike than any other part of their hospital. She says they have built it through regional and national seed money–a grant of $1 million over three years to bring the concept to fruition and get it off the ground.
The Dorn VA Hospital serves a three state area.