Courage to Care, Courage to Talk . . . About War Injuries

Questions and Answers

Q: The Courage to Care Courage to Talk campaign focuses on the importance of injury communication between healthcare providers and the family of the injured service member, as well as within the family itself, especially communicating with children. What is meant by the term ‘injury communication’?

A: Injury communication is an essential component of injured family care. In its broadest sense, ‘injury communication’ refers both to the exchange of information (provision and delivery of information related to the injury), and to the impact of information (the capacity of the family and family member to process information). Injury communication also refers to its behavioral impact on the family. Effective injury communication involves the timely, appropriate and accurate sharing of information from the moment of notification of injury throughout treatment

Q: What is the goal of injury communication?

A: Its primary goal, to be achieved over time, is helping family members integrate the injury experience through a process of shared understanding. To this end, ongoing dialogue about the injury and its implications are extremely important.

Q: Why is injury communication important for clinical providers?

A: Injury communication is both a process and an opportunity for healthcare providers. In the process of communicating with families about combat injury, there are multiple opportunities to educate and help families understand the importance of connectedness and availability — both within the family and within one’s community.

Understanding the impact of injury on children, especially from a developmental perspective, enables providers to guide families on how best to communicate with children to sustain hope, connection to both parents, and continuity with family and community routines. Ultimately, effective injury communication helps injured families learn the skills of self-advocacy, leading to protection from isolation, a sense of connectedness, the capacity for appropriate and timely help-seeking, and family problem-solving. Providing quality communication and compassionate outreach that supports injury recovery, family function and health are important goals that healthcare providers can advance using the educational resources of the Courage to Care Courage campaign.

Q: What are the implications of effective injury communication for families and children of the injured service member?

A: Family members of the injured will be communicating with numerous military and civilian healthcare and social support personnel including nurses, doctors of diverse specialties, social workers, psychologists, case managers, chaplains and support service staff. As participants in the communication process, the Courage to Care Courage to Talk campaign can provide families with tips on talking about war injury, talking with children, and talking with healthcare providers