One of Beloit Regional Hospice’s (BRH) first palliative care patients — Vietnam War Veteran James Faust — was honored during an emotional ceremony. He received a pin in honor of his military service as part of BHR’s We Honor Veterans Program in the comfort of his living room.
Faust’s wife, Judith, BRH Outreach and Diversity Associate Taleesha Pinson, Palliative Care Program Chaplain and Chair of We Honor Veterans Committee Mark Maxted, BRH Development and Marketing Manager Adena Dutter, Palliative Care RN Molly Carl and CNA, and We Honor Veterans Committee member Rocky Plomb all gathered to show their appreciation of Faust’s service.
We Honor Veterans is part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. It lends extra support to veterans by helping them navigate the process of getting their VA benefits as well as any necessary emotional support for the wounds of war.
Faust is BRH’s first palliative care patient. BRH started offering palliative care services to qualifying patients on Jan. 25. Palliative care offers symptom control and support to patients who are still seeking curative treatment so they are comfortable and receive the best possible quality of life. Traditionally those seeking hospice services have six months or less to live and aren’t seeking curative treatment.
Molly Carl, RN, explained that individuals often are struggling with the symptoms of a serious illness and need extra help to keep them comfortable and prevent them from being admitted or re-admitted to the hospital.
“I love the concept of palliative care as it is the extra layer of support to improve quality of life for patients and their families. This wonderful program will help so many in our community and that warms my heart,” Carl said.
Faust has an array of medical issues he said stems from exposure to Agent Orange during his service. Today he suffers from diabetic retinopathy, kidney failure, congestive heart failure and neuropathy, which leaves him in chronic pain.
Thanks to BRH, Faust will be provided with a nurse practitioner to help provide him with new medications to help him relieve symptoms. He also will have access to a social worker, chaplain and 24- hour telephone triage service with a registered nurse.
After working as a finance clerk and tank driver in Vietnam, Faust left the service in 1970. When he was working as a printer in 1984 his health began a downward spiral.
“I thought I left Vietnam without any wounds, but came back with Agent Orange,” Faust said. He called Agent Orange “The silent bullet.”
At Thursday’s ceremony, Faust was in good company. CNA Plomb said he was a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran serving from 1972-74. Maxted is a U.S. Air Force Veteran.
“We can click and understand each other,” Maxted said. “We have an understanding and a bond. We pay tribute for service to this country.”
“Beloit Regional Hospice is so pleased to be able extend our We Honor Veterans Pinning’s to patients of our Palliative Care Program. Veterans who served our great country often experience unique issues during serious illness and at the end of life. It is so important to honor them and let them know that we appreciate their service and heroism,” Dutter said.
Palliative Care Services are often offered at no cost to the patient, and the Care Team encouraged anyone who would like to learn more to call the Beloit Regional Hospice office at 608-363-7421.