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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Georgia Southern Examine Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Health and Support Services

When comparing urban and rural areas, barriers to access do differ in terms of availability, but analysis revealed more similarities exist among parents from both contexts. Efforts must be made to increase opportunities for youth with disabilities to become connected with the local community in order to improve quality of life for families.

“The needs assessment provided us much needed information to identify and implement evidence based practices to improve quality of life for children living with disabilities and their families.”

Health disparities exist among individuals living in rural and urban contexts in terms of access to healthcare and overall mortality. These disparities are typically greater for youth with disabilities living in rural areas, who face additional barriers in receiving health and support services specific to their disability. Parents are typically the ones responsible for coordinating the care needed by children with a disability; however, with numerous barriers present families are not provided adequate support to care for a child with disabilities.

The purpose of this study was to examine barriers and facilitators to accessing health and support services among urban and rural families of children with disabilities. The common themes found during the analysis include accessibility of health and support resources, transitions, and social isolation.

Published in the interdisciplinary Disability and Health Journal, “When Everything Changes:” Parent Perspectives on the Challenges of Accessing Care for a Child with a Disability,” examines barriers and facilitators to accessing health and support services among urban and rural families of children with disabilities.

Dr. Ashley Walker, assistant professor of community health at Georgia Southern University Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health was the lead author. Dr. Moya Alfonso, assistant professor of community health, Ms. Kimberly Weeks, BSHS alumni and Dr. Telfair, professor and dual department chair, and Dr. Galvin Colquitt, assistant professor of health and physical education, all from Georgia Southern, were co-authors.

Link to article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1936657415000904