COVID-19 and Rural People with Disabilities

Research and Information

Icon of roof over person using wheelchair and person using cane

May 7
Skilled Nursing Facilities in Rural Communities: Opportunities for partnering on COVID-19 response efforts
Nearly one-third of skilled nursing facilities are located in rural counties. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released guidance for COVID-19 prevention and response that rural communities can use to address the needs of institutionalized people with disabilities. Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker.


   

Icon of person crouched next to person using a wheelchair

April 22 
COVID-19: An increased threat to people with disabilities living in rural institutions
Because people living in institutional settings are more likely to report disabilities than the general population and these settings are not evenly distributed between urban and rural areas across the U.S., rural people with disabilities have a lot at stake in efforts to address the pandemic and outbreaks in institutional settings. Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker.


Icon of a person in a hospital bed. There is a cross in a map symbol above the bed to symbolize a hospital.

April 22
RTC:Rural research shows higher risks for rural people during COVID-19
Rural people with disabilities face many barriers to accessing health care, particularly Intensive Care Units and hospital beds. Hospital capacity varies greatly, as does the prevalence of people with disabilities. Typically, there are fewer hospital beds and higher rates of disability in rural places than urban ones. Project Director Lillie Greiman discusses some of these barriers in a recent Public News Service article.


Graphic showing information about the number of households in the US with disability. Full text description in caption.

April 3 
Recognizing people with disabilities in the COVID-19 pandemic
To assess the impact of COVID on people with disabilities and their needs, it’s important to understand the prevalence of disability by the functional limitations of people living with disabilities experience in their communities.



Maps

US map showing difference between estimated need for COVID-19 ICU beds and beds available across US counties.

November 12
Difference between estimated need for COVID-19 ICU beds and the actual beds available across U.S. counties

Many rural counties do not have available ICU beds to meet local need. In particular, large regions in the Midwest, Great Plains, and Mountain West face critical shortages. Across the country we estimate that 1,704 counties do not have enough ICU beds for potential COVID-19 patients. Of these, 1,314 (77%) are rural. (Downloadable map and full text description available through link).


Map of the US showing locations of skilled nursing facilities. Text description in body of post.

May 7
Locations of skilled nursing facilities

Nearly a third of skilled nursing facilities are located in rural counties. This map of the United States shows the location of skilled nursing facilities across all U.S. counties. (Downloadable map and full text description available through link).


Map of the US showing percent of population institutionalized. Full text description in post.

April 22 
Percent of population institutionalized
Institutional settings are not spread equally across the U.S.: they tend to be concentrated in rural areas. This map shows the variation in the percent of the population that is institutionalized for each state in the U.S.  (Downloadable map and full text description available through link).


Map of the US showing people with disabilities per hospital bed by hospital referral region. Full text description below, in blog post.

April 3 
People with disabilities per hospital beds by Hospital Referral Region (HRR)
Hospital capacity varies greatly across the nation, as does the prevalence of disability. In order to understand which areas may be most impacted by an influx of patients with disabilities, we analyzed the number of people with disabilities per hospital bed across hospital referral regions. (Downloadable map and full text description available through link).



Fact Sheets

cover of fact sheet: unemployment among people with disabilities during COVID-19 recession. Link to full fact sheet in post.

November 13
American at a glance: Unemployment among people with disabilities during the COVID-19 recession
This fact sheet looks at trends in unemployment for people with disabilities before and during the ongoing COVID-19 recession. As the recession wears on and unemployment benefits begin to expire, long-term recovery to pre-pandemic levels may become elusive, yet again leaving people with disabilities behind.




First page of America at a glance: social isolation and loneliness during the first wave of COVID-19

August 25
America at a glance: Social isolation and loneliness during the first wave of COVID-19
To learn more about how COVID-19 and public health responses such as stay-at-home orders may contribute to feelings of social isolation and loneliness among people with disabilities, RTC:Rural researchers compared data from two cross-sectional samples collected before and after the first wave of “stay-at-home” orders.




first page of America at a glance: COVID-19 and disability in rural areas research brief.

July 21
America at a glance: COVID-19 and disability in rural areas
This research brief explores rural/urban differences in COVID-19 health risks, preventative practices, and trust in sources for people with disabilities. Overall, these findings support the relationship between trust in information and adherence to public health practices. As the pandemic continues to ravage the US and penetrate even the most sparsely populated communities, providing clear, consistent, and up-to-date health recommendations will become increasingly vital.




front page of fact sheet: how will the COVID-19 recession impact people with disabilities in rural America?

April 23
How will the COVID-19 recession impact people with disabilities in rural America?
While many Americans will suffer in the coming recession, people with disabilities in rural areas are especially vulnerable because they are less likely to have an emergency savings fund, have access to paid leave, or be able to work from home.




Ways to Engage

HCL CLS LWC Logos - link to website

April 16 
Reaching Consumers During COVID-19 with the Healthy Community Living Program
To help provide another way for people to connect to peer support, and also for CIL staff to access professional development trainings they can do on their own time, HCL is offering a free one-year license, now through May 1.


Icon showing person on a computer screen with a "play" speech bubble.

April 1 
Share your COVID-19 story
RTC:Rural is collecting real stories from real people in rural places who are impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

button: Share your COVID-19 story

Resource Lists

COVID-19 molecule

March 26 
COVID-19 Resources
A short list of resources and information for the disability community.