Veteran healthcare and upcoming holiday events were the main topics of discussion at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District’s December veterans roundtable Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m.
Palliative Care Director Dr. Duc Chung and nurse practitioner Rosemary Andrew, both from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, opened the roundtable with a presentation on Palliative Care.
Chung said the goal of the presentation was to explain the VA Life-Sustaining Treatment Decisions Initiative, which went into effect in 2018, and encourage veterans to engage in conversations about palliative care with their doctors.
He said the initiative aims to promote personalized, patient driven health care that ensures that the needs of veterans who suffer from a life-threatening illness are met.
“It is an extra layer of support for you and your family,” Chung said. “We provide symptom management, facilitate resources and work with other providers to support you and your loved ones.”
Andrew said the initiative trained doctors and nurse practitioners to have informative conversations regarding palliative care with their patients, but those conversations are still not happening enough to help veterans as intended.
“What we’re finding is that the doctors know how to have these conversations now and they know how to document what the patient’s goals and needs are,” she said. “But the conversations are still either not happening or happening too late, when they are in the emergency room. The veteran at the point may be unable to speak to what they want.”
Chung and Andrew emphasized the difference between palliative care and hospice and said veterans should not be afraid to talk to their doctors about palliative care.
“It’s a conversation that can seem scary to a lot of people to have,” Chung said, “but doing so can ensure that the wishes of you and your loved ones are honored and respected, and can give you and your loved one the support you need.”
Next on the agenda were the CVMD’s upcoming events, which include Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Dec. 7, a board meeting Dec. 12, and Here Comes Santa Claus! Dec. 15.
Other upcoming veteran-related events that are not taking place at the CVMD but were highlighted at the roundtable include Wreaths Across America on Dec. 14 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Christmas party taking place Dec. 14. The United States Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program will allow individuals to pick up toys from the old Costco building at 380 W Ashlan Ave. on Dec. 21 and Dec. 23.
Veterans from the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars were present at the roundtable.
The event was led by CVMD CEO Lorenzo Rios, who adjourned the meeting by encouraging veterans to positively engage with the community.