Legacy Corps, a national organization based at Arizona State University that provides caregiver support services for veterans and military families, has welcomed Phoenix-based Hospice of the Valley as its latest partner organization.
Since 2001, Legacy Corps, whose full name is Legacy Corps for Veterans and Military Families, has enlisted volunteers from AmeriCorps to provide care through what is now 15 partner agencies located in eight states. Based at the Center for Urban Innovation at Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Legacy Corps is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The nonprofit Hospice of the Valley, Legacy Corps’ first partner from Arizona, has provided compassionate hospice and palliative care to adults and children with a life-limiting illness since 1977. Of the 20,000 patients served annually by Hospice of the Valley throughout metro Phoenix, about 1,400 are veterans or are associated with the military.
Hospice of the Valley is the first and largest hospice serving central Arizona. Since 2011, military volunteers have been specially trained to care for veterans through its Saluting Our Veterans program.
“Hospice of the Valley is thrilled to be part of the Legacy Corps for Veterans and Military Families program. We are excited and honored to further enhance our support and care of veterans and their families,” said Stacia Ortega, director of volunteer and bereavement services at Hospice of the Valley.
David Swindell, director of the Center for Urban Innovation and principal investigator for the Legacy Corps grant, welcomed Hospice of the Valley to the Legacy Corps family and its more than 500 AmeriCorps members around the country. He said several criteria were considered in selecting Hopice of the Valley.
“We chose HOV based on their mission, their extensive experience with volunteers and their years of service to the Valley,” said Swindell, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Public Affairs. “We are also in talks with other nonprofit and tribal organizations in Arizona to join Legacy Corps as we seek to bring additional services to Arizona’s veteran communities. And this next year, we hope to offer our first course for volunteers to learn about and deliver respite care while earning course credit at ASU.”
Legacy Corps project director Jack Steele said Hospice of the Valley's patient companion volunteers support patients and family members who are frequently overwhelmed both emotionally and physically.
“Volunteers provide in-home respite care ensuring that the patient is not alone while the caregiver takes a much-needed break, socialization to help patients find enjoyment through meaningful activities, and provide transportation and help running errands,” Steele said.
Hospice of the Valley received a $64,020 ASU subaward grant through Watts College in October 2020 to recruit and train 24 Legacy Corps volunteers who will provide caregiver support services in the Phoenix area to veteran and military families. Steele said it is likely that the program will grow in future years.
In addition to their work supporting veterans and military families, Legacy Corps members recently have been involved in contact-tracing efforts for those afflicted with COVID-19.