The Army, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs and other military services, is standardizing the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, otherwise known as post-traumatic stress disorder, in an attempt to increase the soldiers’ level of trust and fairness in the system.
According to Lt. Col. Christopher Warner, the Army Surgeon General’s psychiatric consultant and deputy commander, Clinical Services, Bassett Army Community Hospital, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, the Army medical community is now undergoing training on guidelines spelled out in Army Medical Command Policy Memo 12-035 (Apr. 10, 2012), Policy Guidance on the Assessment and Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
An example of standardization cited in the policy memo is the use of the “patient-centered care” approach.
“Patient-centered care within a culture of trust requires that care providers focus on patients’ primary concerns, and these diagnoses, when inappropriately used, can damage therapeutic rapport and interfere with successful care,” the memo reads.
Other aspects of standardization for PTSD care include new treatment methods based on research, not only from military medicine, but from first responders, such as firemen, police officers, and paramedics, who routinely handle very traumatic situations. Similarly, some medications used in the past that were found as not being the best choices for PTSD are also being addressed in the standardization effort.
“No matter where Soldiers are getting care or seeking help for PTSD or any other medical issue, we want to ensure we are doing it the same way,” Warner said.