These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a
source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the
criteria and evidence-base
for programs included.
Need: To provide Lakota elders with tools and opportunities for advance care planning.
Intervention: An outreach program in South Dakota helps Lakota elders with advance care planning and wills by providing bilingual brochures and advance directive coaches.
Results: Care for Our Elders saw an increase in the number of Lakota elders understanding the differences between a will and a living will and the need to have end-of-life discussions with family and healthcare providers.
Need: To increase local health services to rural elderly populations in long-term care facilities located in four Midwest states near a tertiary care organization.
Intervention: A non-profit healthcare organization implemented telehealth services to provide acute care evaluations for long-term residents in their home facilities.
Results: The program increased local care as evidenced by improved year-over-year provider-determined available transfer data: 33%, 50%, 63% program years 1 through 3, respectively. From the success of the initial pilot implementation, the program has further matured into a long-term care offering that now reaches many other rural facilities located in 10 states across the nation.
Need: Allow rural cancer patients in a region inclusive of 26 counties in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota to have access to tertiary-level chemotherapy regimens in rural infusion centers.
Intervention: With telehealth-based oversight from a tertiary care oncology team, 3 rural infusion teams were trained to coordinate cancer treatment plans and administer complex chemotherapy regimens.
Results: Almost 130 patients were transitioned to receive chemotherapy in a rural infusion center, translating to over 1,000 infusion visits and saving patients/families nearly 65,000 trip miles, 1,800 travel hours and $71,000.
Need: To help adults and children in rural South Dakota prevent or manage their diabetes.
Intervention: The Facing Diabetes Project offered medical visits for adults and provided prevention and education sessions for the local 4th and 5th graders.
Results: Many adults and children in the region felt better equipped to choose healthy foods, exercise regularly, and manage their stress: all factors that can help prevent diabetes or decrease its effects.
Need: To provide victims of domestic violence a safe space, advocacy, education, and family support services.
Intervention: The Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center in rural South Dakota provides emergency/transitional housing, support groups, and community education.
Results: In 2020, Mitchell Area Safehouse answered 401 crisis calls, provided shelter for 169 survivors, and advocated for 239 survivors. The Safehouse assisted in 19 protection orders and provided advocacy to 17 sexual assault survivors.
Need: Assistance for urban and rural physicians — as well as other healthcare providers — who are experiencing burnout and other issues associated with well-being.
Intervention: As part of its provider well-being focus in its rural and urban facilities, Avera Health system has created a program which attends to physician wellness issues starting with recruitment with continued support through retirement.
Results: With increasing engagement due to word of mouth, the program creates a culture of wellness where stigma is decreased and providers are encouraged to be proactive in reaching out for assistance for issues related to their personal and professional well-being.