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Enhancing Veteran-centered care: A Guide for Nurses in Non-VA Settings

Johnson, Barbara S. MSN; Boudiab, Lina D. MSN; Freundl, Margaret MSN; Anthony, Maureen PhD; Gmerek, Gregory B. MSA; Carter, Jemica PhD

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: July 2013 - Volume 113 - Issue 7 - p 24–39
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000431913.50226.83
Feature Articles

Overview There are currently 22.5 million living U.S. military veterans, and this number is expected to increase dramatically as military personnel return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Although honorably discharged veterans may qualify for health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), only about 25% of all veterans take advantage of this benefit; a majority seek services in non-VA settings. It's imperative for nurses in all civilian care settings to understand the impact that military service has on veterans’ health. This article provides an overview of veterans’ unique health care issues, focusing particularly on traumatic brain injury, polytrauma, hazardous exposures, chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, substance use disorders, suicide, and homelessness. Evidence-based assessment tools and treatment guidelines for these health issues are discussed. A resource table provides telephone numbers and Web sites offering tools, educational materials, and veteran services. A second table provides detailed veteran-centered health assessment and screening questions.

An overview of veterans' unique health care issues, such as posttraumatic stress disorder and military sexual trauma, as well as evidencebased assessment tools and treatment guidelines.

Barbara S. Johnson is program director and Lina D. Boudiab is faculty with the VA Nursing Academy at Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, MI. Margaret Freundl is program coordinator at the VA Nursing Academy at John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, where Gregory B. Gmerek and Jemica Carter are faculty. Maureen Anthony is associate professor at the University of Detroit Mercy McAuley School of Nursing and was faculty with the VA Nursing Academy at the time of writing. Contact author: Barbara S. Johnson, The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

This project was funded by an unrestricted educational grant in whole through federal funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs and administered through the Veterans Health Administration Office of Academic Affiliations. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or its affiliates, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.