Open Access Research article

A pilot survey of post-deployment health care needs in small community-based primary care clinics

Polly H Noël12*, John E Zeber12, Mary J Pugh12, Erin P Finley12 and Michael L Parchman3

Author Affiliations

1 VERDICT, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System Scott & White, 7400 Merton Minter Blvd, San Antonio, Texas 78229 USA

2 University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, Texas 78229 USA

3 Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850 USA

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BMC Family Practice 2011, 12:79  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-12-79

Published: 29 July 2011

Abstract

Background

Relatively little is known regarding to what extent community-based primary care physicians are encountering post-deployment health care needs among veterans of the Afghanistan or Iraq conflicts and their family members.

Methods

This pilot study conducted a cross-sectional survey of 37 primary care physicians working at small urban and suburban clinics belonging to a practice-based research network in the south central region of Texas.

Results

Approximately 80% of the responding physicians reported caring for patients who have been deployed to the Afghanistan or Iraq war zones, or had a family member deployed. Although these physicians noted a variety of conditions related to physical trauma, mental illnesses and psychosocial disruptions such as marital, family, financial, and legal problems appeared to be even more prevalent among their previously deployed patients and were also noted among family members of deployed veterans.

Conclusions

Community-based primary care physicians should be aware of common post-deployment health conditions and the resources that are available to meet these needs.

Keywords:
Primary care; Post-deployment health; PTSD; Depression