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Dallas VA Opens New Hospice Unit

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Smiling nurse cares for patient

Trained professionals support residents receiving hospice care.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dallas VA Medical Center opened a new hospice unit recently, where Veterans receive end of life care with dignity. After all, they served our nation so admirably and deserve nothing less than to die with honor.

One of the largest hospice facilities in VA, the unit is arranged in neighborhoods which promotes an atmosphere of the comforts of home. Each neighborhood has a central living area, and each room is spacious with a couch that converts to a bed so family members can be at the patient's bedside night and day.

"To professionals who provide hospice care, it is a calling," said Nancy Sweeney, RN, nurse manager of hospice and palliative care. The nature of dying is so unique that the goal of the hospice team is to be sensitive and responsive to the special requirements of each individual and family.  Veterans who elect hospice care are served by an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychology and volunteers. 

Those experiencing end of life have a variety of physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs.  Many Veterans in particular have specific challenges to 'make things right' in their heart and mind as they prepare to die. When they remember their military service in their younger days, it is particularly troublesome to cope with taking the life of another human being - even in war.

"The hospice team provides excellent and compassionate care and education for the resident and family, with a focus on the whole person. The new facility is a beautiful place for Veterans to spend precious final moments with their family and friends," Sweeney said.