Palliative and Hospice Care - VA Black Hills Health Care System
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VA Black Hills Health Care System


Palliative and Hospice Care

What is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is the medical specialty providing holistic, compassionate care.

  • To prevent, relieve, and manage pain and symptom.
  • To improve and ensure quality of life for Veterans and their families.
  • It is not necessarily driven by prognosis.
  • It can be utilized along with curative treatments.
  • It assists with prognostication and decision making.
  • It promotes family meetings and communication.
  • It allows Veterans to take control of the holistic quality of their lives and formulate goals of care.

Palliative Medicine Consultation includes:

  • Assessment and management of physical symptoms.
  • Assisting Veterans in the identification of personal goals for end-of-life care.
  • Assessment and management of psychological and spiritual needs.
  • Assessment of the Veteran’s support system.
  • Assessment and communication of estimated prognosis.
  • Assessment of discharge planning issues.

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care focuses on caring not cure.

  • It provides individualized compassionate care centered on physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.
  • It is provided by an interdisciplinary team of experts designed to meet the needs of Veterans with a terminal illness.
  • It provides a format for open discussions about your life experiences, fears, joys, life goals and treatment plan.
  • It provides a goal of peace and quality for each day.
  • It provides emotional, spiritual and bereavement support for families.

What Types of Palliative and Hospice Care Do We Provide

  • Inpatient Care: available for eligible Veterans with a terminal illness who desire support and assistance in living their remaining days well with support for their loved ones.

    • Fort Meade has 12 bed unit
    • Hot Springs has 1 bed unit
  • Respite Care: available for eligible Veterans whose caregiver needs a break. A total of 30 days in each calendar year are available.
  • Home Care: available in coordination with the community, for those Veterans preferring to receive palliative/hospice home care. 
  • Inpatient Community Care: available in coordination with community on a case by case basis.
  • Outpatient Care: available for eligible Veterans with a life limiting or terminal illness who desire comfort care, pain and symptom management so that they can live their remaining days well.
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Consultation and Follow-up by the Hospice and Palliative Care Team.

Program Contact Information

Beth Hunt, RN CNH Coordinator
Community Hospice Programs
Fort Meade  605-347-2511 Ext. 7738

Mary Schumacher, RN CNH Coordinator
Community Hospice Programs
Hot Springs  605-745-2000 Ext. 2410

George Harr, RN HPC Coordinator
Fort Meade  605-347-2511  Ext. 7717

Contact Info


  • VA Black Hills Health Care System

Contact Number(s)

  • 605-347-2511 Ext. 7738/7717
  • 605-745-2000 Ext. 2410

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm