On Tuesday, Oct. 8, the American Red Cross and Lee Health launched the first-in-the-nation veteran visitation program at a civilian hospital at Cape Coral Hospital in Cape Coral, Fla.
"Lee Health is a perfect partner," said Joanne Nowlin, American Red Cross South Florida Region CEO. "They care about this community, they provide compassion and it's a unique, one-of-a-kind program which I am thrilled to be a part of -- that we can support our veterans who have done so much for our great country."
Volunteers who have been dually trained with the Red Cross and Lee Health made their first visits to veterans admitted to Cape Coral Hospital to provide them with information on the programs and resources available to them and to provide a comforting word. The pilot program models after the Red Cross’ efforts at VA and military hospitals and is expected to be offered across all Lee Health hospitals, which serve more than 60 veteran patients.
"The Red Cross has played this role with veterans for many, many years, but traditionally in either VA facilities or in military hospitals," said Heidi O'Sheehan, director of the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces. "It's a role we're familiar with but this is our first time doing it with a civilian hospital."
Volunteers will visit veterans in their rooms to answer any questions they have and deliver materials detailing veteran benefits and programs in Southwest Florida. Lee Health serves many veterans living in the area, where the closest VA hospital is about two hours away.
The Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces is dedicated to helping members of the military, veterans and their families prepare for, cope with, and respond to, the challenges of military service. Every day, the Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran health care facilities across the country and around the world.
Click to view the latest news insight on the new partnership.
Written by Estefania Garcia
Photos by Rebecca Torriani and video by Estefania Garcia