After the successful implementation of our Aged Veteran Welfare Support Projects in Greater Manchester and Avon & Somerset last year, the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) is delighted that this unique service is now also available to veterans in Herefordshire and Nottinghamshire.
DMWS has provided medical welfare support to the Armed Forces community for over 70. With the number of aged veterans continuously growing, there is an increased demand for our professional service to support this community when they are receiving medical treatment. In response, DMWS now leads the project that sees 10 organisations deliver health and wellbeing support and activities to veterans aged 65 and over, their families and carers in Herefordshire and Nottinghamshire. The project has been funded by the Aged Veterans Fund and the grant awarded to DMWS subsidises welfare officers who will be embedded within NHS Trusts in the two counties.
Any hospital admissions or a programme of treatment can be a stressful and daunting experience. Being an older veteran can bring its own set of challenges; returning home from combat, this community did not receive the same level of support as is standard today. This is thought to have led to undetected mental and physical health conditions, as well as difficulty to transition back into civilian life resulting in other problems such as marriage breakdown, unemployment and homelessness. Combined with the transient nature of service life, veterans are less likely to have family nearby or a long established support network, leading to loneliness and isolation; all of which can hamper recovery.
As a generation that was trained not to show weakness, this group may not highlight health problems when they arise nor question medical staff, as they see it as a sign of weakness. However, the health needs of this group are significant; in general, veterans often experience physical health issues linked to their service, such as combat related injuries and back problems from carrying heavy equipment, ear, nose and throat problems, sleep disorders and chronic pain problems as well as mental health problems.
The benefit of providing additional welfare to veterans has now been recognised. DMWS welfare officers are available for the Herefordshire and Nottinghamshire aged veteran community to offer practical and emotional support when they receive medical treatment. The aim is to improve mental wellbeing, encourage a positive approach to treatment, reduce social isolation, and promote independence which can lead to earlier hospital discharge. Our person-centred service is tailored to the individual needs of the patient and their family. Some examples of the support we provide are:
- A confidential, impartial and non-judgemental ‘Listening Ear Service’
- Bedside visits
- Help with resolving any medical care issues and to understand treatment
- Supporting patients and families when talking with medical teams
- Providing patient’s family with emotional and practical support
- Accompanying and supporting patients at Outpatient Appointments
- Help to make sure that support and services in place when patient’s leave hospital
- Telephone support and follow up post discharge
Lisa Leece, Head of Commissioning and Performance at DMWS, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Herefordshire and Nottinghamshire County Council on the project that will bring together services to help improve the wellbeing of the aged veterans community.
“Over 60 per cent of our welfare officers are from an Armed Forces background and all of our officers are specially trained in this field. This gives them a real sense of understanding and enables them to fully support patients from the Armed Forces community”.
We work closely with other military charities that can refer veterans who would benefit from our service by contacting us on: 0800 999 3697 / email@example.com.
Notes to editors
For immediate Release
For further information on DMWS please contact Christine Pilbeam, Marketing and PR Manager on 01264 774 270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Registered Charity in England and Wales (1087210) and in Scotland (SC045460)
About St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)
The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) has been providing a person-centred medical welfare service to the Armed Forces Community since 1943. In that time we have supported over 1,000 000 patients and their families, ensuring that no one goes through the worry of injury and illness alone. Our highly trained welfare officers provide practical and emotional support to those receiving medical treatment. Recent new projects with organisations such as the police, the NHS and the probation service demonstrates the broad appeal of the organisation and its application to a wide set of frontline services. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. www.dmws.org.uk