The following resources may be useful in planning for and providing appropriate palliative care to returned servicemen and women or to those war widows / widowers living within the community.

Key Resources

Aged and community care (Department of Veteran Affairs)

Support for older veterans (My Aged Care)

Practice Issues

Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs DVA Community Nursing Program. Current (freely accessible website)
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) provides entitled veterans and war widow / widowers (entitled persons) with access to a range of quality health care and related services, including community nursing services, at DVA’s expense. DVA provides access to community nursing services to meet an entitled person’s assessed clinical and/or personal care needs in their own home under the DVA Community Nursing Program.

Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (Open Arms). Current (freely accessible website)
The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and anger.  Support is also available for relationship and family matters that can arise due to the unique nature of military service.

Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veterans Home Care. Current (freely accessible website)
The Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) program provides low level home care services to eligible veterans and war widows and widowers. This website provides information regarding services and programs to assist veterans applying for home care including eligibility criteria.

Hallarman L, Kearns C Palliative Care Network of Wisconsin Fast Facts #152 - The military history as a vehicle for exploring end-of-life care with veterans. 2009. (freely accessible online resource)
This resource provides communication strategies for starting the conversation about end-of-life issues with veterans.

Department of Veterans' Affairs Coordinated Veterans’ Care (CVC) program. Current (freely accessible website)
The CVC Program is a planned and coordinated health care model for eligible Gold Card holders with one or more chronic conditions and at risk of hospitalisation, in particular those with one or more of the following:

  • congestive heart failure
  • coronary artery disease
  • pneumonia
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or
  • diabetes

National Association for Loss and Grief (SA) Inc and University of Adelaide Department of General Practice GriefLink - Grief associated with military service. Current (freely accessible website)
GriefLink is a website providing information and resources on death-related grief for the community and professionals. Although Grieflink provides resources specific to South Australia, the website provides general information which is applicable across all states and territories.

Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health For Practitioners. Current (freely accessible website)
This website provides information and resources to health professionals caring for the mental health of veterans. Mental health professionals can provide specialised trauma-focussed treatment. The health professional section of the website provides direction to relevant information and resources within the website and also provides links to external sites. It does not provide a specific treatment guide.

University of South Australia and Department of Veterans' Affairs Veterans' Medicines Advice and Therapeutics Education Services (Veterans' MATES). Current (freely accessible website)
This resource aims to assist in managing medicine use in the veteran community and provides up-to-date health and medicine information for health professionals and veterans. A team of clinical experts contribute to the writing of this information which is specifically tailored for veterans and their health professionals.

Associated materials

Barr F, Graham S, Ireland AW. Treatment choices in life threatening illness: Attitudes and preferences of elderly Australian veterans and war widows. Australas J Ageing. 2002;21:178-184.
The study investigated whether older Australians would choose invasive or active treatment or palliative treatment were they to have a life threatening illness. Reasons for choice of treatment were also investigated. Overall, the study found that participants were more likely to choose palliative than invasive treatments. Men, especially older men, were more likely than women to choose invasive treatments. The study also indicated that participants want to exercise choice in their treatment but that they want this to be an informed choice.

O'Connor M, Brennan B, Bloomer MJ, Shimoinaba K. Vulnerability at the end-of-life: Australian veterans requiring home-based palliative care. Home Health Care Manag Pract. 2014;26(3):134-140.
This is a retrospective pilot study exploring the home-based palliative care needs of veterans as they face the end of their life, compared to non-veterans. Medical records of ten deceased veterans and ten non-veterans in a home-based palliative care service were analysed both for demographic data and qualitative content. Veterans had significantly more comorbidities and were older at death. Qualitative data indicated common concerns, including the role of families and practical aspects of care. Some differences were found between veterans and non-veterans in their end-of-life care requirements. More awareness of veterans’ status may assist in care more tailored to their specific needs.

Page updated 04 July 2019