Posted by: arbeam | October 26, 2013

Naval Hospital Bremerton lends support to Madigan Army Medical Center Post-Deployment Study

BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) — Naval Hospital Bremerton is helping to support a nurse-led research team at Madigan Army Medical Center seeking military and veteran couples for a post-deployment reintegration study. Couples from all service branches are eligible to participate in the study.

The study is also open to those not married but in a committed relationship who are living together and have experienced at least one deployment separation in the last 10 years. The study can be done in person or on-line with NHB sharing information on how to get involved.”The purpose of this study is to develop a better understanding of how military couples cope with deployments and reintegration. Because the family unit is a strong source of support for military service members, we also hope to find ways that we can assist and support military couples and families during reintegration. Our overall goal is prevention of family problems such as miscommunication, arguments, conflict, separation, break-ups and divorce,” explained Lt. Col. Kristal C. Melvin, chief, nurse scientist at the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry at Madigan Army Medical Center.

 Donna L. Belew, MSN, RN, and project director of the Couples Reintegration Study Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry at Madigan Army Medical Center, adds that the study will provide an opportunity for couples to be part of ground-breaking research that is investigating the reintegration experiences of military couples from all services. Both members of the couples must be willing to spend approximately 20 to 30 minutes completing an on-line survey about themselves and their relationship. “We care deeply about the experiences of spouses, partners or significant others who support our service members, before, during and after deployment, making this project very different from most research projects in the military,” said Melvin. “Military couples are very diverse, with differing background, ethnicity, race, services, jobs, deployments, relationships and values. We want to hear about the post-deployment reintegration experiences of all kinds of military couples, married and unmarried.”

The inspiration for this project came from the frustrations of Melvin, an Army nurse practitioner working as a lead investigator who noticed early during Operation Enduring Freedom n Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq that military couples and families were struggling with deployment related separations, fears for the safety of the service member, and reintegration of the service member into the couple relationship and the larger family unit. When Melvin was unable to find any treatments or advice to offer her patients, she decided that someone needed to find out what worked – or did not work – to help the couples to reintegrate and reconnect with one another.

Melvin notes that 95 couples have contacted concerning the survey, and approximately 54 of those couples have been eligible and consented to participate. “Although most of the couples have been Army so far, we have recently been contacted by several Navy couples and at least one Marine couple,” said Melvin.

When the study is completed, and all information has been analyzed, the MAMC team plans to publish several articles in scientific and medical journals. In addition, they will be presenting their findings at medical and military conferences, as well as submit recommendations to military policy makers in hopes of improving reintegration support.

In addition, those participants who consent to follow up communications will receive a courtesy copy of the findings. The collection of data will be wrapped up in 2014, and the findings will be presented widely in 2014 and 2015. “We also can provide a small token of appreciation to non-active duty participants ($10 gift card) once surveys have been completed, as a way of thanking them for their time. Federal regulations do not allow us to give these to service members,” said Melvin, noting that non-active duty participants will each receive a $10 gift card (Starbucks, Subway or iTunes) once all surveys have been completed.

For more information, please contact 253-968-1067 or email: militarycouplestudy@gmail.com.

NavyNews article

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