PTSD: National Center for PTSD
Engaging Rural Patients in Psychotherapy
Rural Provider PTSD Toolkit
Involving FamilyBecause family members are often the ones in the best position to detect problems and motivate help seeking, providers can use tools aimed at helping family members encourage loved ones to engage in effective PTSD treatment.30 Resources for this include:
Use of TechnologyThe use of televideo technologies can help mitigate many of the logistical barriers facing rural Veterans. Offering interactive video appointments at VA Community Based Outpatient Clinics reduces travel times and minimizes the time needed to take off from work. To learn more visit Optimizing Rural Care.
Utilizing Local Vet CentersVet Centers provide readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, Service members, and their families to help make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Learn more about the Vet Center Program.
Collaborative CareCollaborative care is one approach to promoting engagement in psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective and is now being more widely implemented at VA.31 The cornerstone of the collaborative care model is the care manager who conducts telephone outreach to PTSD patients and uses problem solving, motivational interviewing and shared decision making techniques to activate and engage patients in care.
The care manager works closely with telepsychologists and telepsychiatrists to ensure continuity of care, promote adherence to treatment and minimize missed opportunities like no-shows. For psychotherapies with homework, care managers can also help patients practice skills and in vivo exposure exercises. For providers trying to mimic this model, treatment mobile companion applications like CPT Coach and PE Coach also provide reminders for between-session homework and appointments.
Perhaps most importantly, care managers or other providers will gain the trust of rural Veterans over time. This becomes a critical connection to engage the Veteran in high quality treatment.