PRP071: Developing a Crisis Preparedness Toolkit: CMU-CARES [Crisis Avoidance for Rural Elderly Stakeholders]

Brenda Varriano, BSc, MSc; Averie Dickinson; Raha Mouzoon; Ruoxi Lu; Jacob Long; Andrea Beatty, BS; Neli Ragina, PhD, Director Research; JYOTSNA PANDEY


Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged society uniquely, requiring measures that impacted communities socially and economically. This impact is greater on vulnerable populations like the rural elderly who depend on community services and social contacts for wellbeing and health. Our search for crisis preparedness resources to share with the rural dispersed living elderly yielded limited results that focused on this population. Rural dispersed older adults have a greater number of health comorbidities, poorer finances, limited access to internet and limited access to community resources such as healthcare specialists, making their circumstances unique. Objective: As toolkits are one solution for empowering self-reliance and maintaining health and wellbeing during a “crisis” by proactive preparedness; we aim to develop a CMU-CARES toolkit designed for rural independently living elderly. This shall be accomplished by including rural elderly in the toolkit design process through semi-structured interviews, in order to elicit their unique wants and needs that were realized during COVID-19. Study Design: This is a community-based survey of independently living older adults in rural Central Michigan. Participants will be invited to participate in semi-structured interviews, based on World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF, using the “evaluation for capacity building and empowerment” model. This will ensure stakeholders involvement, implementation and evaluation for feasibility and practicality of use to prepare for crisis. Study population: Independently living older adults aged 65 years and older, reasonably mobile and cognitively intact; living in central Michigan rural counties will be invited to participate. A minimum of 20 and a maximum of 60 participants will be interviewed. Expected outcomes: This project will develop, evaluate and disseminate a generalizable “crisis” preparedness toolkit for rural independently living older adults based on stakeholders’ experiential knowledge that empowers and promotes self-reliance to manage health and wellbeing in a “crisis.” No other research project has incorporated rural living elderly in the design process of a crisis preparedness toolkit. CMU-CARES hopes to inspire novel patient-centered projects to improve health care outcomes in vulnerable populations during times of crisis, while fostering the camaraderie between health-care providers and the community.
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Arturo Martinez Guijosa 11/14/2020

It was great reading about your on going study that focuses on our elder population in rural areas. I hope to continue seeing the development of this toolkit in order to help prepare us for another crisis in the future and have communities agree to it. Do you have any preliminary data on elders in the area you studied that agreed this was a needed toolkit?

Laura Mentch

During our covidtime it is easy to overlook the unexpressed needs of a population that is not seen or heard. How will you proceed with a lack of interest from the target population to recruitment efforts? Involving the community members is valuable to the process. How have the specific stakeholders mentioned in the conclusion been involved in the design process. How were these stakeholders selected? I hope you will let us know the outcome of this project and the elements of the toolkit.

Viv Ramsden 11/19/2020

Interesting project. How were the older adults living in rural Michigan engaged in developing the research project? In what way(s) could this improve the outcomes?

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