Ellen Sparrow, LICSW, Social Work Supervisor of Nashoba Nursing Service & Hospice (NNS&H), was invited by the Central Mass. Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to participate in an educational program for medical students at UMass Medical School.

The topic was veterans health issues and end of life care. The training included the viewing of the film Wounded Warriors.

The film provides an overview of the multifaceted and unique needs of veterans at end of life and gives some ideas on how to help veterans cope as they near death. It especially addresses the risk of veterans to have signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and how that might manifest at end of life.

Sparrow had the opportunity to share how NNS&H assesses all clients for veteran status and whether or not a veteran has had combat experience.

The film recommends what NNS & H already provides for its hospice clients. Each veteran is presented with an individualized plaque that denotes a veteran's branch of service. This plaque is presented to the veteran by a veteran hospice volunteer, who thanks them for their service to the country.

Sparrow reinforced to the students that this small act has been proven time and again to be very meaningful and the plaque is treasured by the patient and family.

Sparrow also stressed that as medical professionals, these students will have the opportunity to refer their patients to hospice services, when it is decided that the person does not want any further aggressive treatment, so that they can remain comfortable in the setting of their choice.

The hospice team can then offer the patient and family social, spiritual and medical support so that they have the chance to address any unresolved issues. The goal is to have a sense of healing and peace prior to death.

Nashoba Nursing Services & Hospice is honored to be available to support this community's veteran population and thanks them for giving Americans the freedoms that we enjoy.

NASHOBA NURSING SERVICES & HOSPICE

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