Evaluation of the Empower Veterans Program (EVP) for Military Veterans with Chronic Pain

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Uche, Jessica U.
Washburn University
School of Nursing
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Background: Chronic pain is prevalent in the general population and among veterans. Despite the wealth of research on complementary and integrative health (CIH) approaches, the lack of current empirical evidence of the effectiveness of the Empower Veterans Program (EVP) limits utilization of this CIH approach for chronic pain management of military veterans. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a veteran healthcare administration’s EVP for improving pain and quality of life for veterans with chronic pain in Northeastern United States. Methods: This quality improvement project used pre-and post-intervention data that were collected from adult veterans with chronic pain who completed the veterans’ healthcare facility’s EVP between August 2017 and August 2019. Data on pain intensity, pain interference, quality of life, pain catastrophizing, and patient satisfaction were analyzed for this project. Result: Although data were abstracted from 115 patients, the final sample included 67 patients who completed both pre-and post-intervention questionnaires. Demographics (age and gender) of completers and non-completers were similar. The pre-and post-intervention data were compared using paired t-tests. Comparison of pre-and post-mean scores resulted in statistically significant findings at a p value of .005 based on the Bonferroni correction. The medium to large effect sizes (Cohen’s d) supported EVP effectiveness for veterans with chronic pain. Recommendations: Based on the findings, stakeholders should implement program expansion to veterans in rural areas to improve access, and adoption of EVP by other Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. Conclusion: EVP is effective in improving pain severity and quality of life in veterans with chronic noncancer pain based on the clinical and statistical significance of total and domain scores of tools/measures used.