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Postdeployment health care for returning OEF/OIF military personnel and their social networks: a qualitative approach.

Finley EP, Zeber JE, Pugh MJ, Cantu G, Copeland LA, Parchman ML, Noel PH. Postdeployment health care for returning OEF/OIF military personnel and their social networks: a qualitative approach. Military medicine. 2010 Dec 1; 175(12):953-7.

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Little is known regarding the health care needs of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) deployed veterans seeking care outside of Veterans Affairs facilities. Responding to this gap, we conducted a mixed methods study of postdeployment health among veterans and members of their social networks in six community-based primary care clinics. A total of 347 patients completed a survey dealing with deployment to Iraq/Afghanistan (whether their own or that of a family member, friend, or coworker), and subsequent psychosocial and health problems. A subset of 52 participants responded to an open-ended question requesting additional information about experiences during and postdeployment. Content analysis of these responses revealed five overarching themes: connectedness, perceptions of conflict, consequences of deployment, health and treatment concerns, and respect and concern for service members/veterans. These data point to significant deployment-related disruptions in the well-being of service members and those in their broader social networks, with implications for defining service needs in community health settings.

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