Family-Centered Care for Military and Veteran Families Affected by Combat Injury


This article draws attention to approaches to care for military and veteran families that are family-centred and consider the vulnerabilities and needs of the whole family.


The US military community includes a population of mostly young families that reside in every state and the District of Columbia. Many reside on or near military installations, while other National Guard, Reserve, and Veteran families live in civilian communities and receive care from clinicians with limited experience in the treatment of military families. Though all military families may have vulnerabilities based upon their exposure to deployment-related experiences, those affected by combat injury have unique additional risks that must be understood and effectively managed by military, Veterans Affairs, and civilian practitioners. Combat injury can weaken interpersonal relationships, disrupt day-to-day schedules and activities, undermine the parental and interpersonal functions that support children’s health and well-being, and disconnect families from military resources. Treatment of combat-injured service members must therefore include a family-centered strategy that lessens risk by promoting positive family adaptation to ongoing stressors. This article reviews the nature and epidemiology of combat injury, the known impact of injury and illness on military and civilian families, and effective strategies for maintaining family health while dealing with illness and injury.

Full Reference

Cozza, S. J., Holmes, A. K. and Van Ost, S. L., 2013. Family-Centered Care for Military and Veteran Families Affected by Combat Injury. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 16(3), pp. 311-321.