In This Issue: Helping Veterans Cope with and Conquer Pain
Targeting Barriers to Pain Self-Management in Women Veterans
Takeaway: Project CONNECT (Refinement and Feasibility of a Novel Peer Support Intervention) is expected to reduce costs and improve access to behavioral pain care. This study targets previously unaddressed and potentially modifiable factors (e.g. social support) thought to be relevant for the adjustment and uptake of pain self-management among women Veterans.
Women are the fastest-growing segment of VA healthcare users and addressing their unique needs is a priority for VA. Although men and women Veterans both report high rates of chronic pain, rates are higher in women, therefore VA has placed renewed emphasis on promoting self-management for pain, including cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain (CBT-CP). However, several barriers to accessing this care and engaging optimally with its recommendations may be particularly salient for women, such as logistical, healthcare delivery, and psychosocial barriers. Patient-centered efforts to address these may translate to improved treatment access, engagement, adherence, and more optimal outcomes for women Veterans. Accordingly, a home-based intervention integrating an evidence- based CBT-CP program with reciprocal peer support (RPS) has been developed called Project CONNECT (Refinement and Feasibility of a Novel Peer Support Intervention) and is currently being pre-piloted.
This ongoing study (May 2020 – April 2024) will examine the potential feasibility of candidate control conditions for a future randomized trial. More specifically, investigators will:
Further, in preparation for a randomized-controlled trial (RCT), they will conduct a feasibility analysis to determine Veterans’ preferences for treatment, as well as qualitative interviews to ascertain motivations for, concerns about, and factors influencing participation in a future RCT.
This is a single-arm pilot design and an analogue study to examine the feasibility of randomization to candidate control conditions. If CONNECT is feasible, a Hybrid Type 1 trial will be warranted to determine whether providers may confidently recommend CONNECT to women Veterans and to examine implementation factors.
None to report at this time.
Project CONNECT is expected to reduce costs and improve access to behavioral pain care. This study targets previously unaddressed and potentially modifiable factors (e.g. social support) thought to be relevant for adjustment and uptake of pain self-management among women Veterans.
Mary Driscoll, PhD, is an investigator with HSR&D’s Pain Research, Informatics, Multi-morbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center in West Haven, CT.
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