Many aspects of trauma surface during an end of life journey

Maine Hospice Council receives grant for trauma-informed care for veterans on hospice

Thu, 07/09/2020 - 7:00pm

The Maine Hospice Council and Center for End-of-Life Care (MHC) has received one of 13 grants to work in partnership with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s “We Honor Veterans Program” (NHPCO/WHV) and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The goal is to increase awareness of PTSD, Moral Injury and Suicide and the subsequent impact on end of life and palliative care. This will be accomplished in partnership with community organizations, and MHC’s long-time partners at Togus VA Medical Center (TVAMC), according to MHC, in a news release.

MHC will work with the congressionally mandated initiative through training and education; distribution of tools and resources to health care providers, such as the PTSD and tele-mental health consultation services at Togus; and to improve upon the person-centered, interdisciplinary care Veterans and their families received at end of life.

MHC Executive Director Kandyce Powell said in the release that the grant helps MHC, and the many dedicated hospice programs in the state, to continue to expand quality end of life care to Maine’s Veterans, which she has been passionate about for decades. In 2004, MHC was an early adopter of the Hospice/Veteran Partnership in Maine.

Subsequently, she was invited by NHCPO and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work with Project Manager Donna Bales (Kansas) as project director on a three year initiative to develop models of best practice that could enhance quality end of life care for homeless Veterans and those living in highly rural areas. The experience served her well. “I do this work in honor of my dad,” Powell said. “He was with a B-17 crew in WWII.”

The TIC grant will offer additional tools and insights into the unique needs of Veterans who have experienced trauma and the lifelong impact that can have on the Veteran and his/her family.

Many aspects of trauma surface during an end of life journey, often with ramifications for symptom management, according to MHC. Knowing a patient’s history of trauma can often lead to a more effective care plan.

Many Veterans are not enrolled in the VA for health care. A high percentage of Veterans receive end of life services from community-based providers.

“That’s why it’s so important for all health care providers to have knowledge of appropriate screening tools and available consultation services in order to address the aftermath of military service, specifically the environments where our women and men may be deployed,” said MHC. “Each conflict or war has its own unique issues.

MHC’s mission is to act as an incubator for change, promote innovation, foster community-based collaboration, and serve as an informed convener and educator.

“MHC is proud to work with our partners to address the needs of Veterans in Maine,” they said. “We are most grateful to the staff at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization as well as Drs. Scott Shreve and Carol Luhrs from VA central office in Washington, DC for believing in the quality of our work over many years.”

For more information about Maine Hospice Council and a list of their grant partners, please visit