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TelePain: Changing Lives, Empowering Veterans

Mr. Robert Judge, Marine Corps Veteran

VA telehealth and virtual care has been implemented in creative ways to offer full-service TelePain care to Veterans. A virtual transdisciplinary approach to care has enhanced effective pain management care delivery for Veterans, including their physical, mental, and social wellbeing.

Thanks to TelePain programs, Veterans who are home-bound or live in rural locations can access care from home without the hassle of a long, potentially painful trip to the nearest VA medical center. In this Q+A, Marine Corps Veteran Mr. Robert Judge shares his experience using TelePain. 

 What been your experience utilizing TelePain management services? 

I was at my wits end. I’ve been seeing civilian doctors since my back injury, trying to get relief from nagging, constant pain. My pain was affecting my life; it didn’t allow me to do things I used to. It affected my sleep and the way I interacted with my family and other people. I got a survey from the VA regarding pain management, and I thought it was worth a shot - it was my last chance, and I just wanted relief. The VA reached out to me and offered pain management services, got me in the program, and started offering medication. Within 3-4 weeks, it was like a switch was flipped. I’ve been able to sleep through the night for the first time in 3 years. My wife noticed a remarkable improvement me. I have a chronic pain issue, and I wanted to manage it the best I can. Civilian doctors don’t understand and don’t really seem to care. They would ask ‘how are you feeling today? On a scale of 1-10, how is the pain today?’ What about tomorrow and the rest of my life? I finally found somebody who understands what I’m going through and how it effects my life. The VA wanted to help me manage my pain and improve my quality of life. 

How do you feel about using telehealth for this type of care?

I think it’s an awesome idea. I’m retired now and have a lot of time, but telehealth saves me from having to do a lot of traveling and sitting in the waiting room. I feel that I’ve built great rapport with the doctors. Using the technology to connect with the doctors was easy, simple to use, and not painful at all. When I’m at home I’m comfortable, and it allows me to focus better on the appointment and my interaction with the doctor.

Has this service enhanced or improved the care you receive from the VA? 

Yes, I always say to people at the VA clinic, ‘This is not the old VA that I was introduced to 20 years ago.’ It has improved dramatically since I started going to the VA. There is a modern and Veteran-focused approach to things now. There has been a lot of positive things coming out within the last 5 years.

What do you like best about TelePain?

I have more confidence and trust in the VA system than I did in the past. They’ve been more proactive, and I feel the services they offer make it seems like they really care about my health. In the past, my health info wasn’t shared between civilian doctors and VA. Now, they can share info about prescriptions and procedures, which is great. This is something I’m happy to be a part of.