Palliative and Hospice Care - Montana VA Health Care System
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Montana VA Health Care System

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Palliative and Hospice Care

What is Palliative Care?  

Palliative care is specialized care focused on improving quality of life for seriously ill Veterans and their family/caregiver.

Who would benefit from Palliative Care?

Anyone with a progressive, serious, or life-limiting illness such as: lung disease, heart disease, neurological disease, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer, and others.

The Palliative Care Service Includes:

  • Pain and symptom management
  • Emotional and spiritual support
  • Coordination of care and communication between patients, families, physicians, and other healthcare providers
  • Support for loved ones and caregivers
  • Information on advanced care planning, including benefits and risks of life-sustaining and life extending measures
  • Assistance with Advanced Directives and Physician Ordered Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST)
  • Referrals to community resources

Palliative Medicine Consultation Includes:

  • Assessment and management of physical symptoms
  • Assisting Veterans identify personal goals for end-of-life care
  • Assessment and management of psychological and spiritual needs
  • Assessment of the Veterans support system
  • Assessment of discharge planning issues when Veterans are hospitalized for life-limiting illnesses

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care focuses on providing comfort care not cure

Who Would Benefit From Hospice Care?

Anyone with a terminal illness, who has been told they have a limited life expectancy of 6 months or less

  • Hospice Services Include:
  • Provides individualized compassionate care centered on physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the Veteran and family members
  • Provides a team of experts designed to meet the needs of Veterans with a terminal illness
  • Provides a format for open discussion about your life experiences, fears, joys, life goals, and treatment plan
  • Provides a goal of peace and quality of life for each day
  • Provides emotional, spiritual, and bereavement support for families

What Types of Palliative/Hospice Care Do We Provide?

  • Inpatient Care: available for Veterans living with a life-limiting illness who want a balance of comfort care along with curative interventions
  • Respite Care: available for Veterans who's family/caregiver need a break.  A total of 30 days in each calendar year is available
  • Home Care: available in coordination with community agencies, for those Veterans who want to receive hospice care at home
  • Community Nursing Home Benefit for End-Of-:Life Care: available in coordination with community nursing homes
  • Inpatient consultation and follow-up by the Palliative Care team during hospitalization

For More Information, Contact:

Dawn Porte RN FNP-BC, Palliative Care Program Coordinator, Fort Harrison, 406-447-7019

Trena Bonde, MD, 406-447-6716

Blanche Reishus, RN-Continuum of Care Coordinator, 406-447-7622

DeEtta Hurt, RN-Continuum of Care Coordinator, 406-44707699

Terry Stephens, LCSW-Medical Social Worker, 406-447-7624

James Patterson, Chaplain, 406-447-7640

For Information at VAMT Miles City, contact:

Marielaine Hegel, LCSW-Medical Social Worker

We Promise to:

  • Listen to you
  • Respect your beliefs
  • Honor your wishes
  • Provide information and assure that you understand all of the choices available for your healthcare
  • Connect you with quality healthcare professionals in the community


Advanced Directives:

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors:

Hospice Veteran Partnership:

State of Montana POLST:


Contact Info


  • VA Montana Health Care System

Contact Number(s)

  • 406-447-7019
  • 406-447-7622

Hours of Operation

  • Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm