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Military Health History Pocket Card for Clinicians

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

Military Health History Pocket Card
Download to your mobile device

Download Mobile version of pocket card as an Adobe PDF.

Military Health History Resources


Allow your patient to give you permission to ask these questions. Ask all military service members and all Veterans. Gain trust

  ?      General Questions

  • Would it be ok if I talked with you about your military experience?
  • When and where did you / do you serve and in what branch?
  • What type of work did you / do you do while in the service?
  • Did you have any illness or injuries while in the service?

 If your patient answers "Yes" to any of the following, ask:
"Can you tell me more about that?"

  • Did you ever become ill while you were in the service?
  • Were you or a buddy wounded, injured or hospitalized?
  • Did you have a head injury with loss of consciousness, loss of memory, "seeing stars" or being temporarily disoriented?
  • Did you see combat, enemy fire, or casualties?
  • Were you a prisoner of war?

  ?       Compensation and Benefits

  • Do you have a service-connected condition?
  • Would you like assistance in filing for compensation for injuries/illnesses related to your service?

    Call VA at 1-800-827-1000 or 844-MyVA311 (698-2311)

  ?      Living Situation

  • Would it be okay to talk about your living situation?
  • Where do you live and who do you live with? Is your housing safe?
  • Are you in any danger of losing your housing?
  • Do you need assistance in caring for yourself and/or dependents?

  ?      Sexual Harassment, Assault and Trauma

  • Would it be okay to talk about sexual harassment or trauma that you might have experienced?
  • Have you ever experienced physical, emotional, or sexual harassment or trauma?
  • Is this past experience causing you problems now?
  • Would you like a referral for some help with that?
    Many people find it helpful to get some support.

  ?       Exposure Concerns

Would it be okay if I asked about some things you may have been exposed to during your service?

  • What...were you exposed to? 
    • Chemical (pollution, solvents, weapons, etc.)
    • Biological (infectious diseases, weapons)
    • Psychological (mental or emotional abuse, moral injury)
    • Physical
      • Blast or explosion
      • Munitions or bullet wound
      • Radiation
      • Shell fragment
      • Heat
      • Vehicular crash
      • Noise/Vibration
      • Other injury
  • What...precautions were taken? (Avoidance, PPE, Treatment)
  • How...long was the exposure?
  • How...concerned are you about the exposure?
  • Where... were you exposed?
  • When... were you exposed?
  • Who... else may have been affected? (Unit name, etc.)

  ?      Behavior

  • Would it be okay to talk about emotional responses during your service?
  • PTSD: Have you been concerned that you might suffer from Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder? Symptoms can include numbering, re-experiencing symptoms, hyperarousal/being on guard, and/or avoiding situations that remind(s) you of the trauma.
  • Depression: Have you been experiencing sadness, feelings of hopelessness/helplessness, lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and/or poor sleep?
  • Risk Assessment: Have you though of harming yourself or others?

           Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1) or 1-844-MyVA311 (698-2311)

  ?      Blood Borne Viruses (Hepatitis and HIV...)

  • Do you have tattoos? Have you ever injected or snorted drugs such as herion, cocaine, or methamphetamine?
  • Have you ever been screened for Hepatitis C or HIV? If not, would you like to be screened for these?