249861 Health and aging issues in rural Tamaqua, Pennsylvania: Outcomes of a community health needs assessment

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:42 AM

Elizabeth Roth, MA , Community Health Department, St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, Bethlehem, PA
Hollie Gibbons, MPH, RD , Community Health Department, St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, PA
The Tamaqua Area Community Partnership located in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania received Local Initiatives Support Corporation funding in 2010 to conduct a health needs assessment for its rural community of less than 17,000. In this service area, 21% of residents are over the age of 65, which is higher than state (15%) and national (13%) rates. Subsequently, the unique public health needs of this rural, elderly population are highlighted in the study. This assessment incorporated the use of 37 interviews with community leaders, 381 individual surveys completed by a convenience sample, 4 focus groups and local secondary data. Thirty-one percent of the individual survey respondents were over the age of 60. Diabetes prevalence in the community is almost three times higher than state and national rates. Hypertension, angina, and stroke frequencies also surpass averages. One third of all respondents report tobacco use and 47% of adult respondents classify as obese. The aging Tamaqua population experiences health service gaps in the lack of medical specialists who address specific aging issues (dermatology, cardiology, pulmonology, etc), limited transportation, a lack of veterans' services, health care cost and narrow preventative health coverage under Medicare. The findings of this assessment can be used as comparison data for future studies in peer communities.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Articulate the health issues and medical service gaps facing elderly residents within the Tamaqua Area School District of rural Pennsylvania.

Keywords: Aging, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I assisted in the data collection and analysis of the Tamaqua area community health needs assessment in Tamaqua, PA.
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.

See more of: Rural Aging Issues
See more of: Aging & Public Health