In the homecare industry as a whole, we take of a lot of veterans. However, with Veteran’s Day yesterday, it makes you think about how we look at them as compared to the others patients you serve. This demographic of patient has often experienced a whole lot that the rest of us never do. So, we will consider how we need to see these patients and how their needs may be different.
Assessing The Veteran:
The first thing to consider in care planning for the veteran is what type of service he or she provided to our country. Is your soldier someone who remained stateside or someone who was deployed into war zones? What if you had a retired military physician or nurse who worked directly with trauma patients from the war? Or, what if your soldier is someone with new onset CHF, but also served several deployments and suffers with PTSD? When reading your EMR for this patient, does it look like the standard CHF protocol? Now, we certainly understand that your primary goals are related to the exacerbation of CHF, but the background is important to consider. Consider the length of time the patient was in the military. If this was an ROTC student who went into the military to help with tuition and then got out after the obligation, then the experience will also be different than the 30 year retiree who made the military a lifelong career. One doesn’t minimize the other, it just makes a difference in assessment of the patient experience and how it will affect your care plan.
Being a huge fan of dogs, I think specifically about someone who is a military working dog handler. Those soldiers love those canines in a way we can’t relate because most of us have never had to put our lives in the hands of our dogs. Imagine burying your partner who lost its life because it alerted you to an explosive, but couldn’t get out before the bomb went off. The patient may have lost a limb, but a lot more than the leg itself. So, think through the emotional trauma on all levels and how as an agency you may be able to make a difference.
Think Education And Opportunity:
The military itself is its own subset and culture. Military bases are their own communities and there is procedure and protocols that we don’t see. For those of you with family in the military, you get that glimpse into it but it isn’t your life. So, think about your demographic. Do you serve a lot of veterans in your area? Is there an opportunity to educate staff regarding this population that not only improves outcomes, but also is a niche’ market for you? You can potentially provide something that isn’t a focus for another agency in your area. Focusing on this population is becoming more and more prevalent as we continue to see the aging of soldiers who have been in a sustained time of war. It is an opportunity to specialize our care for those who need it.
Should you wish to consider a particular niche’ market in your area and how to specialize, please call Kenyon Homecare Consulting at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see how we can help you achieve your goals.