Military Health History

by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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    00:00 Next thing I want to mention is military health history.

    00:08 The most important point to remember is that you should ask the veteran for permission to talk about their military experience or if they're actively serving in the military you want to ask those questions.

    00:23 And so I'm not going to go through all the questions, but if you're interested in the pocket card it's available at

    00:35 So in general, you want to ask things like "Tell me about your experience." When we talk about building rapport and showing that you're interested in that military culture, once they give you permission, you want to talk specifically with them about their experience.

    00:50 And also if you go to the Veterans Association website, another thing that's being promoted in terms of healthcare and engagement is allowing them or giving them the space to talk about their anecdotes.

    01:06 Prepare that you may be in that room with that patient for a while because you don't want to cut them off. Been there, done that.

    01:14 You want to show that you actively care and you do want to hear these stories and sometimes they do go on for a while, but it just go such a long way in terms of rapport and relationship and showing that you really do care and you really do appreciate their service.

    01:30 Then you want to talk about their job, like I mentioned, you want to talk about how the military service affected that person physically and mentally.

    01:39 You want to talk about their families and so all those different things do help to establish that rapport.

    01:45 Another important thing, and I'm not going into specific detail, but another important thing when we're going through the military health history, we talked about homelessness.

    01:54 Well the only way to find that out is to talk about the living situation and again you want to ask permission "Is it okay to discuss your living situation? Where does the person live? Is your housing safe? Are you in danger of losing your house?" And we want to ask all those questions because we want to know which resources we want to help to allocate for the veteran.

    02:15 And then "Do you need assistance caring for dependents?" So all of those things are so important in terms of being an advocate and sometimes being proactive versus reactive.

    02:27 So, if we ask at the beginning of establishing that patient-provider relationship, it goes a very long way.

    02:36 Stress is so important in terms of speaking to a veteran about that.

    02:42 I keep saying veteran because this is mostly geared toward veterans, but is also important with active military personnel.

    02:50 But asking about experiences that may have been terrible or bad or whatever that may be causing some stress and some nightmares and some insomnia, but just be really careful in terms of not letting the opportunity to pass to try to dig deeper into the medical health history so that you can be more proactive again in setting up all the things that we use to individualize care to a veteran.

    03:19 So some of these are questions we don't generally normally ask so that's why I want to make sure that I point out specific things and again encourage you to look up that pocket card and know that you will take care of a veteran even if you don't work in the VA or several veterans.

    03:36 And sometimes you may be taking care of active military personnel that you don't know and a lot of the health histories now in the civilian world does include questions about if you've ever been in the military or if you're in the military.

    03:51 But it doesn't go in all these specifics about things we want to address and include, it might just ask how long you served, where you in there, which branch were you in but you need to know these specific questions if you're going to do holistic care.

    04:06 Another important point to consider with veteran-centric care is the family.

    04:11 So I mentioned it a little bit, but the spouse's significant other or partner, you want to find out about children, parents, whomever the family is from the patient's perspective and try to assess if there are some needs on that end as well.

    04:26 We want to think about the effects of the illness or injury on not only the service members in the veterans but also on spouses, partners, significant others, children, and extended family members because you'll see some unique healthcare things happen.

    04:39 So it's so important to have these conversations and that dialogue about what's going on from, again, the holistic perspective not just of the veteran or the active person serving actively.

    04:52 And one of the things, you know being a child of a veteran, people say and patients say it to me all the time who are veterans that when the person serves, the whole family serves.

    05:04 And then sometimes the family of a veteran or active military personnel may come in so if in the event, which will happen, you're caring for someone within that group I just named you want to consider those things and ask specific questions.

    05:21 Again, you want to ask for permission because a lot of that can be triggering.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Military Health History by Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE is from the course Veterans Health and Cultural Awareness.

    Author of lecture Military Health History

     Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

    Angela Richard-Eaglin, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, CDE

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