206998 Working with community partners to promote visit-ability in a rural state

Monday, November 9, 2009: 12:48 PM

Meg Ann Traci, PhD , Rural Institute, The University of Montana, Missoula, MT
Eleanor Smith developed the concept of visit-ability to describe features of private homes that provide a minimal level of accessibility to allow people with mobility impairments to visit the home of a friend or family member. An estimated 19 million Americans report mobility difficulty. From a public health perspective, visitable homes may eliminate barriers to participation, reduce the rates of anxiety, depression, and social isolation experienced by individuals with disabilities, and promote independence in activities of daily living. There are wide array of partners sharing the common goal of increased availability of visitable homes in Montana, including the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, state centers for independent living (CILs), the Montana Association of Realtors, the Montana Building Industry Association, and the Montana Home Choice Coalition. Working with these partners, we trained four CIL staff as Accessibility Ambassadors to promote visitability in the states four CIL service areas. To date, these Accessibility Ambassadors have met personally with more than 100 builders, architects, realtors, public health professionals, policy makers, and consumers. We will present evaluations of changes in knowledge, awareness, and acceptance of visitability as a viable home design option. Preliminary data indicate that 57.14% of the target audience reported that presentations increased their understanding of visitability; and 60.71% and 87.5% respectively, said they were more likely to consider a visitable home design in their personal and professional lives. We also will discuss suggested next steps for visitability in Montana put forth by the target audience on these evaluations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe 3 features of a visitable home 2. Discuss public health implications of visitability 3. Understand the role of accessibility ambassadors in awareness campaigns

Keywords: Home Visiting, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Meg Traci was trained as an experimental psychologist at The University of Montana (UM) and specializes in both early childhood and life-span development. Dr. Traci works at The University of Montana Rural Institute: A Center for Excellence in Disability Education, Research, and Services (UMRI). Currently, she is detailed to direct a MDPHHS grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Montana Disability and Health Program: Living Well Under the Big Sky (MTDH). For ten years, Dr. Traci has been contributing to UMRIís research and program development efforts targeting the prevention of secondary health conditions experienced by persons with physical and cognitive impairments and related disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.