Conference Paper

Health Outcomes Associated with Veteran Participation in the Integrative Health & Wellness Program

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Abstract

The Integrative Health and Wellness (IHW) Program at the Washington DC VA Medical Center (DCVAMC) is a consult service designed to provide multiple integrative health interventions to Veterans in a comprehensive clinic setting. During the study period, services include acupuncture, Integrative Restoration (iRest) yoga nidra, and health education classes. This study examines physical and mental health outcomes associated with program participation for 12 weeks and 6 months. Of the 226 veterans who enrolled in the program, 63.7% participated in at least one service in the first 12 weeks, and 72.1% in the first 6 months. Service users were 66.9% male, with mean age of 50.40 (range = 23-86). Participants completed questionnaires upon entry into the program (baseline) and at 12 weeks and 6 months from baseline. All participants reported mental health or pain as their primary symptoms of concern, regardless of reason for referral. Notably, follow-up data were available for only a subset of individuals. At 12 weeks, participants (n = 41) experienced significant reduction of anxiety (PSS) and improvement in perceived physical health (VR36). They also reported significant improvements in their primary/secondary symptoms of concern, activity participation, and well-being (MYMOP-2). At 6 months (n = 27), significant improvements were observed in perceived physical health (VR36), primary/secondary symptoms of concern, activity participation, and well-being (MYMOP-2). Subsequent analyses focused on veterans who endorsed pain as their primary symptom on the MYMOP-2. At 12 weeks (n = 27), these individuals reported significant reduction in pain-related disability (PDQ), perceived stress (PSS), their primary symptom of concern, and increased activity participation (MYMOP-2). At 6 months (n = 21), significant improvements were observed in depression (BDI-II), perceived physical and mental health (VR36), and each MYMOP-2 item. These results suggest that participation in integrative health programming may be associated with improvements in physical and mental health as well as enhanced quality of life, which has important implications for healthcare service delivery for veteran populations.

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