- VA/HSR&D Research on
Complementary and Integrative Health Therapies within VA
Funded by HSR&D, this special issue of Medical Care highlights how research on
complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapies in the VA healthcare system has progressed along the QUERI (Quality Enhancement Research Initiative) Implementation Roadmap – from pre-implementation to implementation to sustainment. CIH approaches are becoming more available throughout VA, due to: 1) increased implementation of the Whole Health System of Care, which integrates allopathic and CIH care; and 2) development of the infrastructure for CIH implementation, which includes new standards for hiring CIH providers, the involvement of volunteers who teach CIH, and development of policy and guidance for providing CIH at VAMCs, via telehealth, and/or in the community. Conducting pre-implementation, implementation, and sustainment phases of research on CIH approaches in VA is yet another way to boost the scale-up and spread of these therapies to reach as many Veterans as possible.
Date: September 1, 2020
- Many VA Patients Use and are Interested in Learning More about Complementary and Integrated Health Options
In part to guide the expansion of evidence-based
complementary and integrative health (CIH), VA leaders sought current information on Veterans’ interest in and use of various CIH approaches, both inside and outside the VA healthcare system. Thus, investigators in this study analyzed survey results from a large sample of Veterans on their interest in, use of, and satisfactions with 26 CIH approaches. Findings showed that in the past year, 52% of Veterans in this study used any CIH approach, with 44% using massage therapy, 37% using chiropractic, 34% using mindfulness, 24% using other meditation, and 25% using yoga. Pain, stress reduction/relaxation, and improving overall health and well-being were the top three reasons for using 9 of the 26 CIH approaches. Overall, 84% of Veterans in this study stated an interest in trying/learning more about at least one CIH approach, with about half being interested in six individual approaches (massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, and progressive relaxation). Veterans appeared to be much more likely to use each CIH approach outside vs. within VA.
Date: April 22, 2019
- Women Veterans with Pain More Likely to Use Complementary and Integrative Therapies
This study sought to examine
complementary and integrative health (CIH) therapy use by gender among Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain, and variations in gender differences by race/ethnicity and age. Findings showed that of Veterans with chronic musculoskeletal pain, more women than men used CIH therapies (36% vs. 26%). Black women, regardless of age, were least likely to use CIH therapies compared to other women. Among men, White and Black Veterans were less likely to use CIH therapies, irrespective of age, than men of Hispanic or other race/ethnicities. Among both women and men, CIH therapies were least likely to be used by younger Black or White Veterans. Given the disparities in CIH therapy use, tailoring CIH therapy engagement to gender, race/ethnicity, and age may increase CIH therapy use among Veterans.
Date: September 1, 2018