Hospice and Palliative Care - Salem VA Medical Center
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Salem VA Medical Center


Hospice and Palliative Care

Caring handsHospice and Palliative Care focuses on symptom relief and comfort rather than cure. Our team of Palliative Care specialists provides assistance to Veterans and their families to help with physical symptoms of life-limiting illness, emotional or spiritual support, and end-of-life care. Hospice care is similar to palliative care but is intended for Veterans who have a life expectancy of less than six months. Although hospice care is often associated with incurable cancer, Veterans are entitled to hospice and palliative care if they have any severe, progressive, life-limiting illness, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, kidney or liver failure, dementia, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig disease).

Palliative Care innovations in the VA

Palliative Care places the Veteran at the center of the medical team. We take our direction from the Veteran when planning medical care. Great strides have been made to provide excellent care to Veterans with chronic and progressing illnesses. VA Palliative Care teams make a difference by providing dedicated and expert palliative care doctors, nurses, social workers, chaplains and psychologists who have special training about life-limiting illnesses. They make sure that: 

  • Pain and discomfort are well managed 
  • Medical care is provided necessary to meet goals for quality of life
  • Caring attention is given to what matters most for Veterans and their family during this important time of living

The Palliative Care teams will: 

  • Make sure the Veteran and their family receive simple explanations for what is happening as illness progresses. 
  • Provide timely information about how to best plan for future care needs, including helping to access hospice benefits. 
  • Maintain open communication by sharing the care plan with all healthcare providers.

What is the difference between Hospice and Palliative Care? Empty chair 

  • Hospice care is provided when there is a life expectancy of 6 months or less. 
  • Hospice in the community is paid for and provided by special Hospice Community Partners. 
  • Hospice care has no co-payments and is provided without charge for ALL Veterans through the VA Medical Benefits package.
  • Veterans have the option of receiving hospice care without cost even if they have never been enrolled in the VA. 
  • Palliative care is provided when the Veteran is still seeking treatment. 
  • Palliative Care offers control of a progressing illness when there is general agreement of a life expectancy of greater than 6 months. 

Please ask to speak with one of our Social Workers with any questions about expedited enrollment.

In addition, Veterans and their family may receive:

  • Assistance accessing benefits, including the help of hospice care. 
  • Hospice can be provided in our facility or in the Veteran's home through community partners. 
  • Help finding resources which are best suited to the Veteran's needs both now and in the future. 
  • Comfortable care in our special units honoring the needs of the Veteran and their loved ones. 
  • Information about special benefits that may be helpful to the Veteran and their family. 
  • Specially-trained grief counselors to support the Veteran and family through difficult times. 
  • Assistance from a Palliative Care Coordinator who makes sure concerns and needs are a top priority.

Please contact our Hospice and Palliative Care team for more information:

Portia Tomlinson, PA-C
Palliative Care 
540-982-2463 Ext. 3580

We Honor Veterans

In collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization is launching a We Honor Veterans campaign to help improve the care Veterans receive from hospice and palliative care providers. The resources of We Honor Veterans focus on respectful inquiry, compassionate listening, and grateful acknowledgment, coupled with Veteran-centric education of staff caring for Veterans and their families facing life-limiting illness. Learn more about We Honor Veterans.


Contact Info


  • Salem VA Medical Center

Contact Number(s)

  • 540-982-2463 Ext. 3580
  • 888-982-2463 Ext. 3580

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm