Archive for the ‘mental’ Category

Veteran’s Day: Remember Their Health Care

November 11, 2008

While fixing the economy will certainly be a dominant issue for both President-elect Obama and the 111th Congress, we hope, on this Veterans Day, that health care for our wounded warriors will also be a top priority. Regrettably, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to continue to add to the numbers of veterans in need of mental and physical treatment and rehabilitation.

To meet this need, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must have sufficient resources provided in a timely and predictable manner next year, and for years to come.

About 18 percent of men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have already returned home at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, according to a recent study by the Rand Corp.

By Raymond Dempsey
The Washington Times

Another 19 percent are estimated of having experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by improvised explosive devices that “rattle” the brain. In total more than 300,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may already be suffering from these often invisible wounds of war.

In too many cases, the VA is unable to properly treat the physical and mental scars of war, in part because its budget has been late for most of the past two decades, and the amount of funding – which has thankfully grown in the last two years – is wildly unpredictable from year to year.

The result is that the VA is severely constrained in trying to plan or manage its budget. Robert Perreault, a former Veterans Health Administration chief business officer, has rightly noted in congressional testimony that “VA funding and the appropriations process is a process no effective business would tolerate.”

Such haphazard financing can directly affect the quality of care at VA hospitals and clinics across the country. Insufficient or late funding can mean an increase in waiting times for appointments. Purchasing new and replacement medical equipment may be put on hold, further delaying the delivery of needed medical treatment. And life-altering conditions such as PTSD and TBI may go undertreated or are not treated at all if specialized mental health care personnel cannot be hired when needed.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/11/remember-health-care-for-veterans/

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British troops back from Afghanistan are 10 times more likely to suffer mental illness, say MOD

November 5, 2008

British troops returning from combat in Afghanistan are 10 times more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than colleagues who stay at home.

Last year almost 4,000 military personnel were diagnosed with mental health problems including hundreds suffering from depression, mood swings, alcoholism or ‘adjustment disorders’ after serving in war zones.

By Matthew Hickley
The Mail (UK)

This is because mentally-scarred troops often suffer in silence for many years before seeking help.

Mental health statistics released by the Ministry of Defence showed 3,917 serving armed forces were assessed as having mental disorders in  2007.

While most conditions showed no significantly heightened risk for those returning from Iraq or Afghanistan, PTSD was a dramatic exception.

Officials said that while numbers of new PTSD cases were modest there was a ‘marked increase’ in the risk for those recently deployed on combat operations, accounting for 38 out of 43 of the cases recorded in the last three months of the year.

Overall those who have served in Afghanistan were more than nine times more likely to develop the crippling condition than their colleagues who have not served abroad, while for Iraq the figure was almost seven times.

While defence officials insisted the number of PTSD cases was ‘fairly low’ – with 180 servicemen and women diagnosed last year – veterans’s charities warned that the figures could be only the tip of the iceberg.

Read the rest:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1082991/British-troops-Afghanistan-10-times-likely-suffer-mental-illness-say-MOD.html?ITO=1490

soldiers

Figures showed 3,917 new cases of armed services personnel assessed to have a mental disorder

Flood of wounded GIs swamps care units

November 3, 2008

In a rush to correct reports of substandard care for wounded soldiers, the Army flung open the doors of new specialized treatment centers so wide that up to half the soldiers currently enrolled do not have injuries serious enough to justify being there…

Army leaders are putting in place stricter screening procedures to stem the flood of patients overwhelming the units — a move that eventually will target some for closure.

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

According to interviews and data provided to the AP, the number of patients admitted to the 36 Warrior Transition Units and nine other community-based units jumped from about 5,000 in June 2007, when they began, to a peak of nearly 12,500 in June 2008.

The units provide coordinated medical and mental health care, track soldiers’ recovery and provide broader legal, financial and other family counseling. They serve Army active duty and reserve soldiers.

Just 12 percent of the soldiers in the units had battlefield injuries while thousands of others had minor problems that did not require the complex new network of case managers, nurses and doctors, according to Brig. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, the director of the Army’s warrior care office.

In this undated photograph provided by the Department of Defense, ... 
In this undated photograph provided by the Department of Defense, Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek is seen. In a rush to correct reports of sub-standard care for wounded soldiers, the Army flung open the doors of new specialized treatment centers so wide that up to half of the soldiers currently enrolled don’t have injuries serious enough to be there, the Associated Press has learned. The overcrowding was a ‘self-inflicted wound,’ said Cheek, who also is an assistant surgeon general. ‘We’re dedicating this kind of oversight and management where, truthfully, only half of those soldiers really needed this.’ (AP Photo/Department ofDefense)

The overcrowding was a “self-inflicted wound,” said Cheek, who also is an assistant surgeon general. “We’re dedicating this kind of oversight and management where, truthfully, only half of those soldiers really needed this.”

Cheek said it is difficult to tell how many patients eventually will be in the units. But he said soldiers currently admitted will not be tossed out if they do not meet the new standards. Instead, the tighter screening will weed out the population over time.

“We’re trying change it back,” to serve patients who have more serious or multiple injuries that require about six months or more of coordinated treatment, he said.

By restricting use of the coordinated care units to soldiers with more complex, long-term ailments, the Army hopes in the long run to close or consolidate as many as 10 of the transition units, Cheek said during an interview in his Virginia office near the Pentagon.

In the past, a soldier with a torn knee ligament would have surgery and then go on light duty, such as answering phones, while getting physical therapy. But last October, the Army began allowing soldiers with less serious injuries such as that bad knee to go to the warrior units.

The expansion came in the wake of reports about poor conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., including shoddy housing and bureaucratic delays for outpatients there.

Brigade commanders began shipping to the transition centers anyone in their unit who could not deploy because of an injury or illness. That burdened the system with soldiers who really did not need case managers to set up their appointments, nurses to check their medications and other specialists to provide counseling for issues such as stress disorders.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081103/ap_
on_go_ca_st_pe/wounded_warriors;_ylt=
AoQlAisEZ88qx8GhXb.Gzsus0NUE