Advancing Spiritual Care Through Research

How Involved are Non-VA Chaplains in Supporting Veterans?

In terms of supporting veteran populations, little is known of the experiences of chaplains professionally active outside of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare settings. The present study looks to examine how involved non-VA chaplains are in supporting veterans as well as their familiarity with the VA. An online survey was distributed in a convenience sample of chaplains, of which n = 39 met the inclusion criterion for this study (i.e., no past or present VA affiliation). The results find that most of the non-VA chaplains encounter veteran service users either on a weekly or monthly basis. Though familiar with VA services, non-VA chaplains were not sure of their veteran service users’ VA enrollment status nor did they feel able to adequately advise their veteran service users on VA enrollment. The results suggest that non-VA chaplains actively support veteran populations. Opportunities for enhancing chaplaincy services and VA outreach programs are discussed.