Chronic Disease in Rural America – Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve
as a source of ideas and provide lessons others have learned. Some of the projects
or programs may no longer be active. Read about the
criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Need: Few older adults, particularly women and those in rural areas, participate in healthy living interventions.
Intervention: Health educators lead community-based healthy living classes, which include strength training, aerobic exercise, dietary skill building, and/or civic engagement, depending on the program.
Results: StrongPeople™ programs have been shown to improve weight, diet, physical activity, strength, cardiovascular health profile, physical function, pain, depression, and/or self-confidence in midlife and older adults.
Need: To enhance palliative care access to rural patients with advanced cancer or heart failure and their family caregivers.
Intervention: Project ENABLE consists of: 1) an initial in-person palliative care consultation with a specialty-trained provider and 2) a semi-structured series of weekly, phone-delivered, nurse-led coaching sessions designed to help patients and their caregivers enhance their problem-solving, symptom management, and coping skills.
Results: Patients and caregivers report higher quality of life and lower rates of depression and (caregiver) burden.
Need: To increase the capacity for more effective treatment of chronic, complex conditions in rural and underserved communities.
Intervention: Through a specially-designed project, remote primary care providers work with academic specialists as a team to manage chronic conditions of rural patients, expanding remote providers' knowledge base through shared case studies.
Results: Patient management and care provided by rural providers through ongoing education and mentoring from Project ECHO® has proved as effective as treatment provided by specialists at a university medical center.
Need: To develop sustainable, community-wide prevention methods for cardiovascular diseases in order to change behaviors and healthcare outcomes in rural Maine.
Intervention: Local community groups and Franklin Memorial Hospital staff studied mortality and hospitalization rates for 40 years in this rural, low-income area of Farmington to seek intervention methods that could address cardiovascular diseases.
Results: A decline in cardiovascular-related mortality rates and improved prevention methods for hypertension, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Need: In rural eastern North Carolina, Lenoir County residents experience significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and obesity rates compared to other parts of the state and nation.
Intervention: A community-based research project was designed to develop and test better ways to tackle cardiovascular disease, from prevention to treatment.
Results: The end goal includes the development of long-lasting strategies and approaches within the community to help decrease the risk and disparities in risk of cardiovascular disease.