Veteran Care: A Guide for Health Care Professionals in General Practice.
The aim of this guide is to offer direction for those who work in General Practice.
Recently I visited a medical practice to deliver a presentation on my experiences after being injured in service. After leaving the Armed Forces I found that GP’s don’t have the time or the service knowledge to work through some of the complex issues which veteran’s can present with. Accessing help and support from organisations, even if you know where to look, can be laborious and time consuming.
At the bottom of this post I have also included links for some of the NHS England online training and some downloads which I hope will be of use.
Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)
DMWS is an independent charity providing an independent and confidential medical welfare service to frontline staff whenever they are receiving medical treatment. We understand that any hospital treatment or healthcare intervention whether planned or unplanned can be stressful and can bring with it feelings of isolation, stress and worry, all of which may hamper recovery.
DMWS Welfare Officers work with patients when their medical needs are being met but when other issues, problems or social influences may be distracting them from their recovery. We provide practical and emotional support to ensure that no family goes through the worry of injury or illness alone. The support we offer is tailored to the individual needs and may include a confidential and impartial listening ear, helping to explain and resolve any medical care issue and referrals to other agencies for support.
All our Welfare Officers are full-time professionals drawn from a variety of backgrounds including military, healthcare, social work and counselling. They are all trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and have a Diploma in Welfare Studies accredited by the Institute of Welfare.
We operate across the UK, and overseas, supporting those who put themselves in harm’s way to serve our country. This includes Armed Forces personnel, Reservists, Veterans and their families, the Police, and increasingly other front line services, as well as to their primary care givers and healthcare professionals.
SSAFA provides lifelong support for veterans and their families. So if you’ve ever served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army or the Royal Air Force, we’re here for you and your family when you need help, for life. That’s for both Regulars and Reserves.
Our trained volunteers can provide practical, emotional and financial support if and when you need it. Our network of local branches means that help and advice is always close at hand. When you contact us for support we will put you in touch with one of our experienced advisors in your area.
It is often the little things which make the most difference – but we are also experienced at dealing with complex problems. Here are some of the ways that we can help you.
NHS Choices: Healthcare for The Armed Forces Community
Healthcare information and support for the UK’s 10 million-strong armed forces community, including serving personnel, reservists, families and veterans.
NHS Healthcare for the Armed Forces Online Learning Programme
The Armed Forces community comprises current serving personnel, their families, and military veterans and their families; Reservists are considered serving personnel when mobilised or training, and veterans when not carrying out military duties. Whilst many aspects of health need are the same as other members of society, there are sometimes significant differences from other patients and particularly conditions attributable to life in the services and the overall impact of military life upon the family. These differences are sometimes reflected in the way in which healthcare is delivered, the range and types of services and the long-term impact upon the patient and their family.
This e-learning programme is designed to highlight both the similarities and the differences to allow healthcare personnel to understand both the context of military life and also how to appropriately respond to patient need. The programme is broken into three broad areas – the NHS care of current serving personnel, the NHS care of the families of military personnel and veterans, and finally veterans themselves.
I have enclosed a survey which could used by your practice to gather information about you veteran patients. I have also added some leaflets which have been created by NHS England and The Royal College of General Practitioners.