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Article

Grappling with Gulf War Illness: Perspectives of Gulf War Providers

Creative Arts Therapy Department, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8574; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228574
Received: 4 September 2020 / Revised: 16 October 2020 / Accepted: 6 November 2020 / Published: 19 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gulf War Illness, A Drug and Environmentally-Triggered Condition)
Background: Although the Gulf War occurred almost 30 years ago, the chronic symptoms of Gulf War illness (GWI), which include respiratory, gastrointestinal, and skin problems, as well as fatigue, pain, and mood alterations, currently affect over 200,000 veterans. Meanwhile, healthcare providers lack clear guidelines about how to best treat this illness. The objective in this study was to learn about the perceptions and experiences of healthcare providers of GWI veterans in terms of medical symptoms, resources for treatment, and quality of care. Methods: We interviewed 10 healthcare providers across the United States and subsequently conducted a qualitative grounded theory study which entailed both systematic data analysis and generating a grounded theory framework. Results: Our findings indicated multiple challenges for providers of veterans with GWI, including gaps in knowledge about GWI, lack of treatment options, absence of consistent communication within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system, and personalized care that was limited to validation. Conclusion: While this study had several limitations, it supported the notion that healthcare providers have inadequate knowledge and awareness about GWI, which leads to continued uncertainty about how to best care for GWI veterans. This could be remedied by the creation of a comprehensive curriculum for a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to serve as an educational tool for those attending to this largely overlooked veteran population. View Full-Text
Keywords: Gulf War illness; health care providers; qualitative research; grounded theory method Gulf War illness; health care providers; qualitative research; grounded theory method
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kaimal, G.; Dieterich-Hartwell, R. Grappling with Gulf War Illness: Perspectives of Gulf War Providers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 8574. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228574

AMA Style

Kaimal G, Dieterich-Hartwell R. Grappling with Gulf War Illness: Perspectives of Gulf War Providers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(22):8574. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228574

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kaimal, Girija, and Rebekka Dieterich-Hartwell. 2020. "Grappling with Gulf War Illness: Perspectives of Gulf War Providers" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 22: 8574. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228574

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