Measuring sustainability of a grassroots program in a large integrated health care delivery system: the Warrior to Soul Mate Program.
Introduction: Veterans experience many physical and psychosocial adjustment problems that challenge personal relationships and social functioning and successful social reintegration. The Warrior to Soul Mate (W2SM) program uses a structured curriculum [i.e., the Practical Application of Intimate Relationships Skills (PAIRS)] to address veterans' interpersonal needs by teaching participants effective interpersonal skills. Veterans who attended the W2SM program reported lower anxiety levels, improvements in marital alterations and satisfaction, and increased intimacy, cohesion, and affection. Therefore, sustaining the W2SM program can have long-term positive effects for veterans, families, and the greater society. The purpose of this paper is to describe the sustainability of the W2SM program. Methods: The Model of Community-based Program Sustainability conceptually guided the evaluation. Twenty-three VA hospitals in the U.S. that offer W2SM programs completed a self-report survey to measure sustainability. Results: The highest scoring sustainability elements were "Demonstrating program results" (M=5.82, SD=1.23), "Staff involvement and integration" (M= 5.79, SD= 1.34), and "Program responsivity" (M=4.39, SD= 1.16); the lowest scoring element was "Strategic funding" (M=2.78, SD=1.75). Statistically significant associations were found between the global middle-range program results and three sustainability elements: leadership competence (r = .472, p = .023), effective collaboration (r = .470, p = .024), and strategic funding (r = .507, p = .014). Discussion: Efforts to sustain programs should focus on leaders planning for sustainability at the onset of program implementation, collaborators must be involved in program design, implementation and evaluation, and long-term funding sources must be secured to support program operations and continuation.
Stolldorf, DP; Fortune-Britt, AG; Nieuwsma, JA; Gierisch, JM; Datta, SK; Angel, C; Millspaugh, DD; Jackson, GL
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