A new engagement strategy in a VA-based family psychoeducation program

TitleA new engagement strategy in a VA-based family psychoeducation program
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsSherman, MD, Fischer, E, Bowling, UB, Dixon, L, Ridener, L, Harrison, D
JournalPsychiatric Services
Date PublishedFeb
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number1557-9700 (Electronic)1075-2730 (Linking)
Accession Number19176422
Keywords*Family, *Patient Education as Topic, *United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Female, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Male, Medical Audit, Mental Disorders, Motivation, Oklahoma, Severity of Illness Index, Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic, United States

OBJECTIVE: This brief report describes the engagement strategy used in the Reaching out to Educate and Assist Caring, Healthy Families (REACH) program, a nine-month family psychoeducation program for veterans with serious mental illness or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). METHODS: A motivational interviewing-based strategy was created and implemented in a Veterans Affairs hospital to engage providers and veterans and their families into the intervention. RESULTS: Of the 1,539 veterans told about the program, 41% had a family member living nearby and were willing to meet with a provider to learn more. REACH providers met with 505 veterans for a motivational-interviewing session to explore family participation. Of the 436 veterans who were eligible to participate in REACH, 28% of veterans with PTSD, 34% of veterans with an affective disorder, and 25% of veterans with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder went on to participate in at least one session of the REACH program with a family member; these rates compare favorably with those for programs requiring a much shorter commitment. CONCLUSIONS: This engagement strategy shows promise as an effective tool in recruiting veterans and their families into family psychoeducation.

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