Supporting Research in Pain Management for Veterans and Military Service Members
Supporting Research in Pain Management for Veterans and Military Service Members

whole health

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Services is supporting this Special Supplement to Medical Care on the topic of how measurement of well-being and whole person outcomes can improve healthcare and healthcare delivery.

Chronic pain and its companion crisis of opioid misuse have taken a terrible toll on Americans, but the impact has been even greater on U.S. service members and veterans, who often deal with the compounded factors of service-related injuries and traumatic stress. NCCIH Director Helene M. Langevin, MD, discusses the impact of the Pain Management Collaboratory.

Karen Seal, MD, MPH, explains integrative and integrated healthcare, as well as the VA’s Whole Health model, its components, and its benefits. Dr. Seal also shares what the model does for patient care and pain management, as well as discusses using mind-body approaches to meet the unique, multi-dimensional needs of veterans with chronic pain.

Our PMC editor sat down with Dr. Seal to talk about alternative approaches to pain management, integrative medicine, the VA’s Whole Health model for patient care, and working with the veteran population.

Discussing Whole Health Team vs. Primary Care Group Education to Promote Non-Pharmacological Strategies to Improve Pain, Functioning and Quality of Life in Veterans

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS (DEADLINE HAS PASSED) “Evaluating Implementation and Effectiveness of Complementary and Integrative Health Approaches in the VA and Military Healthcare Systems”

Dr. Friedhelm Sandbrink, VHA National Program Director for Pain Management discusses the need to assure access and quality of pain care services, and the research that is going into it.  Drs. Lauren Hollrah, PsyD and Aram Mardian, MD aim to clear up the confusion around the criteria for DSM-5 diagnosis of Opioid User Disorder with an Education Corner piece.  While the VA offers many programs to foster human connections and support, Dr. Heidi Klingbeil, talks about how happier people feel better, and while that sounds easy enough, she encourages physicians to assess the patient as a whole person and develop evaluation skills that are not simply a check off item on a template.  Other topics in the newsletter address studies and papers tackling pain management.

As part of it’s Whole Health model, the VA has established the following six points for safe and effective pain care.

The Whole Health model recognizes the patient as a whole person, not just his diagnosis, illnesses, injuries or disabilities, and also examines the effects manifesting throughout the patient’s body, mind, spirit to enhance the person’s life and total well-being.

The overarching goal of the (w)HOPE study is to establish and implement a new Whole Health paradigm for chronic pain care, emphasizing non-pharmacological pain self-management that reduces pain symptoms and improves overall functioning and quality of life in veterans.

Co-Principal Investigators:
Karen Seal, MD and William Becker, MD