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Health Services Research & Development

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2006 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract


3075 — What Do VA Clinicians Believe about PTSD Treatability?

Author List:
Kelly KA (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)
Gradus J (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)
Monson, C (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)
Street, A (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)
Shipherd J (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)
Schnurr P (National Center for PTSD, Executive Division)
Cramer I (Center for Organization, Leadership, & Management Research)
Resick P (National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division)

Objectives:
To better understand VA mental health clinicians’ perceptions of the treatability of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and ultimately inform a model for disseminating an evidence based psychotherapy for PTSD.

Methods:
Through an HSR&D Implementation Collaborative Planning Grant, we conducted a needs assessment with 218 mental health clinicians across seven facilities in VISN 1. We targeted all clinicians who conduct psychotherapy at these facilities in our assessment. The target sample was identified by the Mental Health Service Chief at each facility. Three mailings to individual clinicians were made in an attempt to capture as many respondents as possible. Response rates across sites ranged from 40 - 69%, with an overall response rate of 50%.

Results:
Eighty percent of mental health clinicians surveyed believed that PTSD can be treated successfully in the general population, but only 68% believed PTSD could be treated successfully in the veteran population. Only 43% believed that veteran patients can be successfully treated utilizing a manualized, evidence based psychotherapy. Thirty percent of clinicians believe VA patients with PTSD are too complex to successfully use these psychotherapies, but a large number (81%) of clinicians endorse a need for more training in PTSD treatment.

Implications:
Dissemination of evidence-based psychotherapies for PTSD within VA will be difficult unless clinicians’ attitudes and concerns about the appropriateness of such therapies for VA are recognized and addressed.

Impacts:
The number of veterans in need of PTSD treatment at the VA is rising. As these newly identified cases are added to the already considerable caseloads of mental health clinicians, it will be critical to treat veterans with PTSD effectively and efficiently. Understanding clinicians’ attitudes about PTSD and PTSD treatment will prove beneficial as dissemination plans for evidence-based therapies are designed.


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