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Reger MA, Jegley SM, Porter SA, Woods JA, Liu L, Markman JD, Landes SJ. Implementation strategy to increase clinicians' use of the caring letters suicide prevention intervention. Psychological Services. 2022 Mar 14; doi: https://doi.org/10.1037/ser0000637.
Caring Letters is recommended in multiple best practice guidelines; however, the Caring Letters intervention has not been widely implemented. The process of tracking, scheduling, and mailing letters for multiple patients over many months may represent a significant barrier for busy clinicians. This evaluation examined whether the use of centralized administrative support (Centralized Caring Letters; CCL) was associated with increased utilization of the intervention. These procedures were tested in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Recovery Engagement and Coordination for Health-Veterans Enhanced Treatment (REACH VET) program. In REACH VET, VA clinicians are routinely asked to consider Caring Letters as one option for veterans identified as at-risk. In this evaluation, clinicians at two VA facilities were offered assistance in the tracking, preparation, mailing, and documentation of Caring Letters for veterans they chose to enroll in CCL. The utilization of Caring Letters increased more than 14-fold after CCL was implemented. In the year that preceded CCL, 3% of REACH VET veterans were sent Caring Letters at the two sites; this increased to 43% of cases after the implementation of CCL (45% at Site 1 and 41% at Site 2). In qualitative interviews with providers, clinicians described Caring Letters as beneficial and stated that the centralized features of the program were helpful. Caring Letters were discontinued for 30% of enrolled veterans, often because of a bad address (9% of enrolled) or relocation (8% of enrolled). Although there are barriers for the use of Caring Letters, CCL was associated with a very large increase in the use of Caring Letters. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).