Hospice-Veteran Partnership Toolkit : About the Hospice-Veteran Partnership Program : 5. Developing a Strategic Plan

Once you have evaluated the needs assessment, you will be ready to start developing a strategic plan. The first step in this process is refining your Hospice-Veteran Partnership's (HVP's) mission, vision, and objectives. Then, you can brainstorm action items that will help further your cause.

In this section of the toolkit, you will find a worksheet to help you develop your strategic plan. We have also included suggestions for HVP activities and success stories from the field.

Suggestions for HVP Activities

Community Outreach

Legal and Regulatory

Provider Education

Research

VA-Hospice Relationship Building

Ideas for HVP Members

Another way your HVP can have an impact is by encouraging participants to make changes within their own organizations. Below is a sample checklist for how community hospices can enhance their service to veterans and work more closely with local VA facilities. You may wish to share this checklist with community hospices in your HVP, and then develop other checklists for various HVP members such as VA facilities, state veterans homes, veterans service organizations, etc.

HVP Success Stories

Profile: HVP of Florida

As the first Hospice-Veteran Partnership (HVP) in the nation, the HVP of Florida is serving as a model for other state hospice organizations and end-of-life care coalitions. Inspired by a National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Council of States presentation about the National HVP Program, Sue Homant, executive director of Florida Hospices and Palliative Care, Inc. (FHPC), asked Diane Jones, VAHPC Project Administrator, to work with her and the FHPC board of directors to establish a Florida initiative to address veterans' needs. Kathy Brandt, director of the Rallying Points Eastern/Southern Regional Resource Center, became involved as a consultant and resource shortly thereafter.

Within a few months, the Florida statewide steering committee had assembled and organized workgroups. The HVP decided to focus on four key areas to improve end-of-life care for veterans:

Although the HVP is still in the early phases of development, it is already moving forward with a number of exciting activities.

  • A survey of hospices and VA facilities was conducted to determine scope of services and awareness.
  • Florida Hospices and Palliative Care Organization's Annual Symposium will include two sessions related to end-of-life care for veterans, including a session on veterans' unique end-of-life experiences.
  • The partnership is developing resources for a statewide "Thank a Veteran" campaign in November to coincide with National Hospice Month and Veteran's Day. A statewide education event is being planned, and technology venues for such an event are being researched, along with in-person education options.
  • To learn more about the HVP of Florida, contact Sue Homant at 850-878-2632 or [email protected].

    Profile: HVP of Maine

    Established in October 2002, the Hospice-Veteran Partnership of Maine is a VA-based HVP with strong support from the Maine Hospice Council, the Maine Veterans Homes, Maine's statewide Rallying Points coalition, and the Maine Consortium for Palliative Care and Hospice. Hosted by Togus VA Medical & Regional Office Center, the HVP holds monthly conference calls and has begun meeting quarterly in person.

    In addition to its core partners, the HVP includes representatives from VA community-based outpatient clinics and home health and hospice agencies. It has also begun reaching out to local veterans service organizations.

    The HVP is governed by a steering committee of 15 members. Participants include social workers, nurses, chaplains, compliance officers, and CEOs.

    One of the HVP's top priorities is to conduct a formal needs assessment of VA facilities, state veterans homes and home hospice agencies. In the meantime, it has already begun tackling issues that emerged during conference calls and meetings.

    The HVP recently formed a subcommittee to increase the pool of hospice volunteers. As part of its efforts, the HVP is working with veterans service organizations to inform their members about volunteer opportunities.

    Training hospice volunteers has been a challenge in the past because of the expense and time involved in bringing in an outside trainer. To address this barrier, the HVP is developing a train-the-trainer program. Employees at VA facilities and state veterans homes will be taught to train volunteers, which will allow these organizations to conduct orientations whenever the need arises.

    Another focus of the HVP is helping VA facilities work more closely with home hospice agencies. For example, the HVP is beginning to look into some of the complex issues surrounding referral and purchase of hospice services. One of the key goals is to bridge the terminology gap between the VA health system and the Medicare-oriented community hospice system.

    Looking ahead, the HVP hopes to conduct community outreach on advance directives and end-of-life care. It will also work to increase the availability of inpatient hospice care-both in VA facilities and freestanding community hospices.

    To learn more about the HVP of Maine, contact Patrick Daly at 207-941-8160 or [email protected].

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    Worksheet for Developing a Strategic Plan
    Checklist for Community Hospices
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    This toolkit is provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Hospice-Veteran Partnership (HVP) Program. Development of the toolkit was made possible through support by Rallying Points, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the Center for Advanced Illness Coordinated Care, and other end-of-life care advocates. Information about VAHPC initiatives is made available for use within the Inter-Institutional Collaborating Network on End-of-life Care (IICN) with the assistance of Growth House, Inc.