Give veteran patients the support they need
Jordana Wright explains how the free RCGP Veteran Friendly Accreditation Programme can help support the specific health needs of this population
During my career as an advanced nurse practitioner, I have experience of our Armed Forces community from two perspectives; clinically, and as a military spouse. It is a community that often goes unnoticed, and so it is critical that health professionals are able to help and support them. That is where the Royal College of General Practitioners' (RCGP) free veteran friendly GP practice accreditation programme can help, by equipping practice staff with the training, information and resources to identify and then support their veteran patients.
There are an estimated 2.4 million veterans living in England, and taking into account their families too, there is a considerable Armed Forces community living under our care. The healthcare needs of veterans are often complex, related to both their experiences as serving members and the unique psychosocial issues associated with transitioning to civilian life (Oster et al, 2017). The complex needs of some veterans can be related to the intensive physical demands associated with military service, and lifestyle factors such as physical and psychological trauma, exposure to harmful/toxic substances, and alcohol consumption (Beard and Kamel, 2015).
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