Objectives: During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual and telephone visits rapidly replaced most in-person care within the Veterans Health Administration (VA) to reduce the virus spread . To address the emerging mental health needs of older Veterans (e.g., social isolation) in the context of chronic underlying mental health needs (e.g., trauma), we developed an 8-week virtual group treatment manual . This article describes the results from a survey of geriatric mental health clinicians who used the COVID group manual to determine its acceptability and feasibility in these settings.
Methods: Clinicians across three VA integrated care settings (home-based primary care, community living centers, and geriatric primary care) were surveyed about their experiences implementing this treatment (n = 21).
Results: Clinicians found this intervention to be effective with their patients and useful and adaptable beyond the early pandemic period.
Conclusions: This group teletherapy intervention was feasible and acceptable when treating Veterans in integrated geriatric healthcare settings . Despite technical challenges experienced by older Veterans, clinicians found this manual to be effective in addressing COVID-related worry and social isolation.Clinical Implications: This rapid response manual has remained clinically useful in geriatric mental health care settings beyond the initial weeks of the pandemic.