Dissemination of Family-Centered Prevention for Military and Veteran Families: Adaptations and Adoption within Community and Military Systems of Care
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- Beardslee, W.R., Klosinski, L.E., Saltzman, W. et al. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev (2013) 16: 394. doi:10.1007/s10567-013-0154-y
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In response to the needs of military families confronting the challenges of prolonged war, we developed Families OverComing Under Stress (FOCUS), a multi-session intervention for families facing multiple deployments and combat stress injuries adapted from existing evidence-based family prevention interventions (Lester et al. in Mil Med 176(1): 19–25, 2011). In an implementation of this intervention contracted by the US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), FOCUS teams were deployed to military bases in the United States and the Pacific Rim to deliver a suite of family-centered preventive services based on the FOCUS model (Beardslee et al. in Prev Sci 12(4): 339–348, 2011). Given the number of families affected by wartime service and the changing circumstances they faced in active duty and veteran settings, it rapidly became evident that adaptations of this approach for families in other contexts were needed. We identified the core elements of FOCUS that are essential across all adaptations: (1) Family Psychological Health Check-in; (2) family-specific psychoeducation; (3) family narrative timeline; and (4) family-level resilience skills (e.g., problem solving). In this report, we describe the iterative process of adapting the intervention for different groups of families: wounded, ill, and injured warriors, families with young children, couples, and parents. We also describe the process of adopting this intervention for use in different ecological contexts to serve National Guard, Reserve and veterans, and utilization of technology-enhanced platforms to reach geographically dispersed families. We highlight the lessons learned when faced with the need to rapidly deploy interventions, adapt them to the changing, growing needs of families under real-world circumstances, and conduct rigorous evaluation procedures when long-term, randomized trial designs are not feasible to meet an emergent public health need.