Identifying patients with military service can improve health outcomes

July 11, 2014 by Tyler Greer
Identifying patients with military service can improve health outcomes

UAB Medicine has partnered with Joining Forces, a government initiative that supports members of the military and their families by promoting various employment, education and wellness initiatives, in an effort to better identify and treat patients who serve or have served in the military.

Cheri Plasters, a University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing graduate and nurse in transplant and general surgical services in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, will implement the "Have you ever served in the military?" campaign at UAB. UAB Hospital providers will obtain a military health history if a patient affirms he or she is current or former military personnel.

Obtaining the military health history is vital, Plasters says, because it will enable clinicians to consider unique exposures and concerns of the veteran. The data will provide more effective specific educational materials and resources for veterans and bridge the opportunities to collaborate between UAB Medicine and the Birmingham VA Medical Center, but caregivers will find out their patient's service history only if they remember to ask.

"Every day we treat patients and have no idea if they have served our country," Plasters said. "I saw the need and wanted to do something, especially since the challenge relates to UAB Medicine's core values."

According to Plasters, only 20 percent of veterans are treated at VA Medical Centers, which means many are treated at clinics, hospitals and other organizations.

"By recognizing our servicemen and -women, we can improve their quality of life and overall health outcomes," she said. "That is why this initiative is so important. A military health history is at the core of planning the care of veterans."

The American Academy of Nursing is assisting on the wellness front by encouraging to ask patients if they have ever served in the military, which can reveal environmental and occupational realities that may factor into patient care.

"UAB wants to provide optimal care for every patient, and the plan of care is best when a full military health history is obtained from veterans," said Plasters.

UAB's School of Medicine and the School of Nursing offer programs to educate providers about the military health history importance and how to use it.

"The military health history covers all of the details for providers to ask and consider," Plasters said. "Physicians and mid-levels will use the military health history to guide their prescriptions and work with everyone else to address concerns and exposures, if that is an issue."

The intention is for all providers at all organizations and hospitals to use a military health history to help plan care, and a presentation has been scheduled for the Region 6 American Association of Critical Care Nurses conference in Atlanta this September.

Explore further: Veterans who identify as LGB could benefit from informed mental health services

Related Stories

Veterans who identify as LGB could benefit from informed mental health services

June 26, 2014
In 2011, the United States Military repealed its "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevented gay and lesbian service members from disclosing their sexual orientation. Current estimates indicate that more than 1 million ...

Lawmaker looks outside VA to fill mental care gap

January 29, 2013
(AP)—The head of the House panel that oversees veterans' issues says patients who have trouble getting timely mental health care from Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics should have another option: access to the thousands ...

Deployment-related respiratory symptoms in returning veterans

July 1, 2014
In a new study of the causes underlying respiratory symptoms in military personnel returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, a large percentage of veterans had non-specific symptoms that did not lead to a specific clinical ...

Health campaigns have reduced armed forces veterans' risk of heart attacks

May 13, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Veterans who joined the Armed Forces in the 1960s and 1970s have suffered more heart attacks than their contemporaries who have never been in the military, according to a study by the University of Glasgow.

US reports spike in suicides among youngest vets

January 10, 2014
There has been a sharp increase in the suicide rate among the youngest U.S. male veterans, and a smaller but still significant jump among women who served in the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thursday.

Baccalaureate nursing program to transition veterans' healthcare skills to nursing careers

September 26, 2013
Military medics hone their medical skills in combat, supporting humanitarian operations and serving in hospitals and clinics across the world. Now, bolstered by a $1.25-million federal grant, the University of South Florida ...

Recommended for you

Study shows cigarette makers shifted stance on nicotine patches, gum

August 17, 2017
The use of nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers or nasal sprays—together called "nicotine replacement therapy," or NRT—came into play in 1984 as prescription medicine, which when combined with counseling, helped ...

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Energy dense foods may increase cancer risk regardless of obesity status

August 17, 2017
Diet is believed to play a role in cancer risk. Current research shows that an estimated 30% of cancers could be prevented through nutritional modifications. While there is a proven link between obesity and certain types ...

Technology is changing Generation smartphone, and not always for the better

August 16, 2017
It's easy to imagine some graybeard long ago weighing in on how this new generation, with all its fancy wheels, missed out on the benefits of dragging stuff from place to place.

The environmental injustice of beauty

August 16, 2017
Women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women, according to a commentary published today in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The authors say ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.