February 13, 2020

Research Snapshot: Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery

Living Well in the Community logo

Living Well in the Community (part of the Healthy Community Living program) is a ten-week workshop for people with disabilities who want to set goals to support their overall quality of life and wellbeing. Often, these workshops are hosted by local Centers for Independent Living (CILs).

However, not all people with disabilities who may benefit from Living Well are connected to their local CILs. To help expand the reach of the program, the Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project partners with rural community hospitals and CILs. These partnerships will also help improve the capacity of rural hospitals to support rural independent community living. 

The Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project team explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.


What will you be doing for the Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project?

A group of youth with different disabilities laugh and smile while posing together

We are facilitating partnerships between Centers for Independent Living and their local rural community hospitals to deliver the long-standing health self-management program, Living Well with a Disability.  The goal is to expand a community’s capacity to offer the program to people with disabilities living in rural areas, who are often unserved or underserved.

We will evaluate the effectiveness of the program using this delivery model, develop training materials, and provide technical support to assist other communities who wish to initiate such collaborative partnerships to better serve people with disabilities living in their service provider areas.

Why is RTC:Rural doing this research?

People with disabilities experience poorer health outcomes due to social inequities that affect overall health and well-being. These include things like:

  • few employment opportunities
  • lack of safe and accessible housing
  • limited or no accessible transportation
  • lack of peer support
  • limited access to public information and resources

These social disparities can lead to complex health needs.

We know that individuals who use self-management practices that focus on prevention, like those taught in Living Well with a Disability, can reduce the need for acute medical care and services. We want to bring health self-management education, tools and opportunities to people with disabilities in rural communities. We see the combined service delivery areas among CILs and community hospitals as a way to broaden the reach of Living Well, addressing the gap in services across rural landscapes and leveraging existing resources to create change in the health and wellness of rural people with disabilities.

What work have you done so far?

a woman has her blood pressure taken by a nurse

It’s been great working with some rural CILs and hospitals so far, fostering their relationships and collaboration to deliver LWD. Because this is a multi-year project, we are looking for other CILs and hospitals interested in this project!

Shaped by our experiences with and input from our project partners, we are developing an organizational capacity building curriculum. This will be a resource for other communities who wish to establish a collaboration between CILs and hospitals to deliver Living Well. It is intended to help bridge the two service systems together by providing information and education about each, as well as guidance for working with each other across those systems.

Who are you working with?

Currently, we are working with CILs and hospitals in the states of Oregon, Wyoming, Indiana, and North Carolina.


Read more about the project on the Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project page.