As we near the end of 2019 and prepare to enter into a new decade, the Rural Evidence Review team has been reflecting on a fruitful and inspiring year of learning, engagement and knowledge sharing.
Our priorities in 2019 included a scoping literature review to explore citizen-patient-community participation in health care planning and decision making through rural health councils, and a combined environmental scan and jurisdictional review of maternity services strategies and activities in B.C. and beyond. The Rural Evidence Review team also initiated a province-wide survey to understand rural community priorities for health care, for which we received a tremendous response! Finally, we began regular meetings with three Rural Citizen Advisory Committees (33 participants) to gain feedback about the direction of the project “from the ground up”.
The project team would like to thank the more than 1,600 (and counting!) rural and remote area residents who have participated in the project’s online survey to date. We have learned that many rural communities lack local or nearby health services, and face physical, financial and social barriers when travelling for health care. As a result, rural patients might avoid or miss treatments, or re-locate to be closer to health services, which negatively impact on health and on the integrity of the community, respectively.
In response, rural citizens-patients-communities recommended to:
- Improve the local availability and quality of health services (e.g., by expanding opening hours of local facilities, and establishing walk-in clinics and community health centres);
- Increase the size and capacity of the local workforce (e.g., by enhancing recruitment and retention efforts, and increasing the scope of practice for non-physicians); and
- Improve access to care/ reduce barriers to accessing care (e.g., through visiting providers, inter-provincial care, telehealth and transport services).
You can read more about what we learned here: http://bit.ly/RERsurveysummary
If you would like to participate in or share the survey with the members of your community, follow this link: http://bit.ly/ruralevidencereview (the survey is ongoing!)
The project team would also like to thank the members of our Expert Advisory Committee. The committee brings together 15 representatives from the B.C. Ministry of Health, the Health Authorities and the Rural Coordination Centre of B.C. to provide strategic direction to the RER, including ensuring alignment between rural community-identified priorities for care and provincial and regional policy objectives.
Finally, our team extends a warm thank you to the members of the Rural Citizen Advisory Committees.
To learn more about the project, visit our website: https://crhr.med.ubc.ca/apru/rer/
Jude, Christine, Shivangi, Louloua & Kayla (the RER team)