Liberating unmourned loss/hurt and unforgiven guilt/shame

Katherine Kemp

Opus Peace National Award Recipient

This recipient has KEENLY demonstrated Unswerving Leadership. Bringing the message about how PTSD CHANGES at the END of LIFE has not been easy because PTSD experts do not work extensively with dying patients so they had not realized how PTSD morphs at the end of life. This recipient, HOWEVER, recognized the relevance of distinguishing between EOL- PTSD and PTSD earlier in life. As a result, she became an OUTSPOKEN advocate to help the PTSD community and the VA community to recognize the nuances of PTSD treatment for DYING patients. This has not always been easy and has sometimes been frustrating. Nevertheless, she has persisted in her efforts to provide sound educational programs and forums that is changing hospice practice for Veterans and also changing EOL care for ANYONE with PTSD. Likewise, this recipient has recognized the distinction between Moral Injury and SOUL INJURY and has provided education about the value of BOTH issues so that BOTH can be treated when they emerge at the END OF LIFE. As a result, the MORAL INJURY community is now reaching out to the SOUL INJURY community to collaborate on programs.

Passionate Advocacy: This recipient is passionate about Veterans and is passionate about hospice and palliative care. She has co-authored a chapter on Veteran Care at the End of Life for a Johns Hopkins textbook that will soon be published. She has helped develop educational programs. Despite resistance in the field, she has been a passionate advocate for developing the WHV level 5 program so that hospices will go BEYOND simply thanking veterans and truly demonstrate their ability to respond to military issues that may complicate peaceful dying.

Humble Service: “Quietly effective” is an adjective that describes this leader’s management style as she collaborates, showcases, and strengthens WHV partners’ efforts to better serve Veterans and their families. She comes by her humility in dealing with Veteran caregivers honestly; her father is a Vietnam Veteran. She saw firsthand the effects of military service, and she humbly ADVOCATED for healing for her father as he faced his own death last year.

It is with great honor and respect that the Opus Peace Board of Directors announces that the 2020 Recipient of the Opus Peace “Mead Team” award is: Katherine Kemp