Investigating Perceptions of Veterans Toward PTSD Research Paper

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Veterans Perceptions of Long-Term Care PTSD Treatment

Grounded Theory Research Proposal

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VETERANS PERCEPTIONS OF LONG-TERM CARE PTSD TREATMENT

Perceptions of PTSD Treatment by Veterans Residing in Community Long-Term Care Facilities

VETERANS PERCEPTIONS OF LONG-TERM CARE PTSD TREATMENT

Perceptions of PTSD Treatment by Veterans Residing in Community Long-Term Care Facilities

The wars currently occurring across the globe are occurring at a time when more soldiers are surviving to return home, but often with lasting mental health issues and physical disabilities. Many people can name someone who suffers from PTSD as a result of having experienced a traumatic event. Diagnosis of PTSD is improving, and along with this has come recognition that the mental health issue can be a persistent and debilitating disorder ("Office of Public Affairs," 2014). Veterans being treated for PTSD may find themselves in long-term care facilities in community settings ("Office of Public Affairs," 2014). The quality of care that these Veterans receive, coupled with their own belief in the veracity of the treatment approaches, will ultimately determine when and how they reintegrate into society and enjoy a lie free from the debilitating symptoms of PTSD ("Office of Public Affairs," 2014). The literature indicates that the perceptions patients have related to the quality of care they receive can be a pivotal factor in how well they respond to care (Polkinghorne, 2005). The current research will explore the perceptions of Veterans in long-term care regarding their PTSD treatment.

Background: Problem Description

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious, complex disorder that affects Veterans from every conflict. In the general adult population, roughly 60.7% of men and 51.2% of women report having experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives ("National Comorbidity Survey (NCS)," 2002). Traumas were most frequently identified as follows: 1) Having witnessed someone being badly injured or killed; 2) having been in a fire, flood or natural disaster; 3) having been involved in a life-threatening accident; and 4) having experienced combat exposure.

In contrast to the trauma numbers in the general adult population, the estimated prevalence of PTSD is 7.8% overall, 10.4% for women, and 5% for men. These figures indicate that a relatively small proportion of individuals who have experienced traumatic events in their lives suffer from -- or report suffering from -- PTSD. Although people are affected by exposure to traumatic events in different ways, the report from the National Comorbidity Survey (2002) concluded that, "PTSD is a highly prevalent lifetime disorder that often persists for years. The qualifying events for PTSD are also common, with many respondents reporting the occurrence of quite a few such events during their lifetimes" (p. 12).

The prevalence rates for PTSD in Veterans of the Vietnam War are 15.2% for men and 8.1% for women. For Gulf War Veterans, the prevalence rate of PTSD is 12.1%. In 2008, the RAND Corporation, Center for Military Health Policy Research, published a report on the prevalence of PTSD among Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Afghanistan and Iraq) derived from a study of 1,938 participants; the prevalence of PTSD for this group was 13.8%. In 2011, 476,515 Veterans with a primary or secondary diagnosis of PTSD were treatment at medical centers and clinics operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

When reviewing the prevalence of PTSD in various populations, consideration of the definition and parameters of prevalence is warranted. Prevalence is a number that represents the proportion of people in a population with a particular condition or disorder at a particular time (Gradus, 2014). Even though prevalence represents the number of cases of a disorder that exist in a population or group, it is important to recognize that prevalence estimates can shift over time as prevalence is dynamic, changing over time, and changing with respect to people and places (Gradus, 2014).

All Veterans who go VA facilities for the first time are screened for PTSD symptoms and depression. Indeed, in 2010, Secretary Shinseki reduced the evidential requirements for qualifying Veterans for health care and disability compensation for PTSD. This change has made it a simpler, faster process that fosters more accurate decisions and quicker access to medical care by Veterans. The PTSD treatment offered to Veterans is recovery oriented, taking the needs and preferences of Veterans into consideration in order to help them identify and achieve meaningful personal goals and satisfying lives.

Literature Review

Significant barriers exist for veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD and are seeking a full course of treatment for their PTSD condition (Seal, et. 2010). Demonstrably effective treatments for PTSD take from 10 to 12 weeks to complete (Seal, et., 2010). Nearly 50,000 veterans received a new diagnosis of PTSD between 2002 and 2008 (Seal, et., 2010). Of these veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, fewer than 30% have completed the recommended course of treatment for PTSD (Seal, et., 2010). Further, the report indicated that certain groups of veterans are less likely to receive the care they need (Seal, et., 2010). Specifically, the veteran less likely to receive care has one or more of these characteristics: male, under 25-years of age, living in rural areas, and diagnosed with PTSD by primary care clinics, and then referred to a mental health program (Seal, et., 2010). The barriers to completing the regimen of care for PTSD include both system-level and personal barriers, both of which can cause difficulties with follow-up appointments and the like (Seal, et., 2010). Seal et al. (2010) determined that new, innovative ways need to be developed to overcome the barriers to care that impede the ability to deliver effective treatments for PTSD.

Efforts to prevent PTSD through early intervention following traumatic events have largely been ineffective. Brief counseling, psychoeducation, and prophylactic medication have all been tried in the immediate period following traumatic exposures ("PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). While some of these approaches appear promising, none of them have been shown to prevent PTSD ("PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). Early interventions serve as a component of the PTSD programs developed by public health organizations and Veteran's Associations ("PTSD Treatment Options," 2014).

A substantive body of evidence supports the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for PTSD (Grohol, 2013; "PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). Another promising early intervention is provided under the name of Psychological First Aid (ncptsd.org) ("PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). In addition, evidence-based research studies point to the efficacy of early Cognitive Based Therapy (CBT) and exposure-based treatments as early approaches to treating PTSD (Grohol, 2013; "PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). The significance of these interventions is whether or not they have the capability to actually decrease the likelihood of the development of PTSD following traumatic exposures (Grohol, 2013; "PTSD Treatment Options," 2014). For this determination, considerable new research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of early intervention with those individuals who are less likely to receive effective treatment for PTSD as a result of the barriers to treatment that occur (Grohol, 2013). Indeed, research on effective treatments for preventing and treating PTSD are needed. A case in point is seen with the use of Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD), which is administered in compulsory groups; the use of CISD has been found to be ineffective for the prevention of PTSD following trauma exposure ("PTSD Treatment Options," 2014).

Substantial barriers to treatment of psychological distress in combat personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have been shown in other studies, as well (Hogue, et al., 2010; Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008). The findings suggest that providing mental health services within the primary care setting will help to overcome the perceived barriers of mistrust, poor access, and stigma (Hogue, et al., 2010; Sundin, et al., 2010). Recent studies have shown that locating mental health providers in primary care clinics is a substantive encouragement to veterans to use the mental health services to treat their PTSD (Hogue, et al., 2010). Indeed, the situation of mental health personnel in the primary care clinics enabled them to meet with and assess four times as many patients as did similar primary care clinics that conform to the usual referral procedures (Hogue, et al., 2010; Sundin, et al., 2010).

In a research study that assessed the 2-year outcomes of treating psychological symptoms within the mental health care nested within a primary care facility, 48 referred patients were followed (Hogue, et al., 2010). Fully 40 individuals or 83% confirmed that they found the availability of a mental health professional in a primary care unit to be helpful (Hogue, et al., 2010). Some of the reasons that the15 patients, who constituted 31% of the sample, specifically identified were the lack of stigma associated with seeking mental health services or the ease of accessing the services and benefits (Hogue, et al., 2010; Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008). Forty percent or 19 individuals refused treatment or dropped out from the group of people who agreed to be interviewed (Hogue, et al., 2010). The conclusion was that veterans are more likely to use mental health services when they are located in…[continue]

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