MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- MS -- For people who reside in rural communities, access to healthcare services is often limited. Some rural facilities may not be equipped to handle transitional care or specialized follow-up care after a life-changing illness or event. Allevant Solutions, LLC., a collaborative effort of Mayo Clinic and Select Medical, is a resource available to make improved healthcare a reality.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, one-quarter of America's population lives in rural areas, where hospital closures have had a profound impact on access to healthcare. Compared to people who live closer to cities, rural residents generally have fewer doctors and fewer resources. In addition, ventilator or transitional care services may not be readily available locally.
Other difficulties include delivering services that target special health needs to rural areas. Low population density can make it difficult to advertise important health screenings, distribute vaccines, such as influenza or shingles, and newborn and young children may not receive the routine screenings and immunizations required for proper health.The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has identified some key factors notable in rural areas:
- Rural residents average fewer physician visits or calls than people living in urban communities.
- There is a lack of adequate support training for emergency medical personnel in rural America.
- Rural hospitals are shifting toward outpatient services due to a lack of funding or a lack of staff.
- Schedule a health screening and physical every year.
- Visit a hospital in an emergency situation even if you do not have health insurance. Most hospitals will not refuse care in the absence of health insurance.
- Follow physicians' recommendations for follow-up care after a major illness or injury.
- Establish a support system for transporting elderly residents or those without transportation to and from health centers.
- Voice your opinion to doctors and health-services providers on how they can improve their services.