Last Patrol Connects With Veterans In Hospice Care
When veterans enter hospice care they often lose contact with loved ones and their military community. Some live their last days alone, sitting quietly in nursing homes.
Last Patrol is changing that. Based in South Carolina, it connects veteran volunteers to veterans in hospice. Its team cooperates with medical providers of hospice care to connect volunteers to patients so that their last patrol isn’t alone.
“As veterans, we know about patrolling, whether it’s land, sea, or air,” said Claude Schmid, director. “End-of-life care is our last patrol. Our mission at Last Patrol is to bring new friends – particularly veteran friends – to veterans on their last patrol, hospice care.”
Knowing the importance of friendship during end-of-life care, Last Patrol brings new friendships when friendship matters most. What happens is that many families are loving and attentive to their hospice patient, but appreciate getting the support, connection, and information that a friend from the military community can provide.
As such, serving others never leaves those in the military community.
“We also feel strongly that continuing service is very important, especially for veterans who have served,” Schmid said. “We want to keep giving back, keep paying forward.”
Schmid is a firm believer that how we treat our veterans throughout their lives – until the very end – can affect how future generations dedicate their lives in service to others.
“We believe how we treat our veterans, from beginning to end, will directly impact the likelihood of young people deciding to serve their country in the future,” he said.
Schmid finds that the military experience and stories that volunteers and patients share results in a special bond. Many veterans describe their military service as a singularly unique period of their lives.
As these veterans approach death, the entire experience of meeting a new supportive friend, sharing stories, and reawaking memories of “patrolling” with their buddies can be richly rewarding for all involved.