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Deborah Grassman

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date: 16 July 2020

In many ways, veterans face the end of life in a similar manner as civilians. In some ways, however, they experience death differently. Military experiences often change veterans in fundamental ways that shape, mold, destroy, and redeem the rest of their lives, including the ends of their lives. This chapter identifies some of these differences in the hopes that readers will understand the unique hospice and palliative care needs of veterans and their families. For example, the value of stoicism so earnestly and necessarily indoctrinated in young soldiers may interfere with a peaceful death for veterans depending on the degree to which stoicism has permeated their post-military lives. This chapter provides lessons that inform healthcare delivery for veterans and bereavement care for their families. It explains how posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can become exacerbated at the end of life, complicating peaceful dying. An overlooked, unassessed wound, now identified as “soul injury” and distinguishable from moral injury, will also be addressed.

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