Ask these questions of military service members and all Veterans:
It is important to know whether a patient or an immediate family member has military service. You know that your patients at VA have had military service. It is also important to ask your patients outside of VA "Have you or a loved one served in the military?"
Asking Veterans these questions will provide you with information helpful in understanding patients' medical problems and concerns, and in establishing rapport and therapeutic partnerships with military service members and Veterans. Answers may also provide a basis for timely referral to specialized medical resources.
Unique Health Risks for Each Era of Military Service
? General Questions
- Tell me about your military experience.
- When and where do you / did you serve?
- What do you / did you do while in the service?
- How has military service affected you?
If your patient answers "Yes" to any of the following, ask:
"Can you tell me more about that?"
- Did you see combat, enemy fire, or casualties?
- Were you or a buddy wounded, injured or hospitalized?
- Did you ever become ill while you were in the service?
- Were you a prisoner of war?
? Compensation and Benefits
? Sexual Harassment, Assault and Trauma
- Have you ever experienced physical, emotional, or sexual harassment or trauma?
- Is this experience causing you problems now?
- Do you want a referral?
? Exposure Concerns
- What...were you exposed to?
- Chemical (pollution, solvents, etc.)
- Biological (infectious disease)
- Physical (radiation, heat, vibration, noise, etc.)
- precautions were taken? (Avoidance, PPE, Treatment)
- How...long was the exposure?
- concerned are you about the exposure?
- Where... were you exposed?
- When... were you exposed?
- Who... else may have been affected? (Unit name, etc.)
? Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection
- Have you ever had a blood transfusion?
- Have you ever injected drugs such as heroin or cocaine?
? Living Situation
- Where do you live?
- Is your housing safe?
- Are you in any danger of losing your housing?
- Do you need assistance in caring for dependents?
? Stress Reactions / Adjustment Problems
Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)
In your life, have you ever had an experience so horrible, frightening, or upsetting that, in the past month, you…
- Have had nightmares about it or thought about it when you did not want to?
- Tried hard not to think about it or went out of your way to avoid situations that reminded you of it?
- Were constantly on guard, watchful, or easily startled?
- Felt numb or detached from others, activities, or your surroundings?