The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer to peer mentor training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. The project includes helping communities identify, access and use NIDILRR-funded products and resources that can address the most important community issues for increased independence and participation (such as access to accessible housing or transportation) of people with disabilities in their rural communities.
The Rural Community Living Development project team explains the project and gives a quick progress update.
We were excited to bring our peer-led self-management program Living Well in the Community to new audiences by facilitating partnerships between Centers for Independent Living and rural hospitals, and begun by teaming up with CILs and rural hospitals in Wyoming and Oregon for the first phase of the project.
And then COVID-19 struck, and like so many things across the country, we needed to adapt, as many hospitals and healthcare settings found themselves dealing with this virus and related difficulties. At the same time, it became dangerous for people to meet in person, especially when the disability community is most at-risk for exposure in this pandemic.
Guest blog post by Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural Knowledge Broker
The devastating and disproportionate rates of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and deaths in institutional settings continues to be part of the national crisis. With data from the 23 states that publicly report data on deaths within long term care facilities, such as nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates more than one in four COVID-19 related deaths in those states (27%) occurred in such settings. The threat within these medical and personal care settings put people with disabilities and others unable to maintain and manage independence in the community, at increased risk. In rural areas, the threat to such institutionalized populations is likely even greater.
The Healthy Community
Living (HCL) Program is a collection of workshops that support opportunities
for all people to live well and participate in their communities.
HCL is usually delivered through in-person workshops. Since
in-person delivery of services is not recommended or not permitted right now as
we all live with the presence of COVID-19, we’re sharing some ways to make HCL
available to consumers remotely.
Limited offer: Access HCL
for free now through May 1
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.
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.
The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development
(RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and
Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the
Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).
The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development
project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community
members to help them connect to resources and information they might not
otherwise have access to.
Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.
Harnessing the theme of this year’s conference, Project
Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Lillie Greiman, Director of Knowledge Translation
Tracy Boehm Barrett, and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot will give a
presentation titled, “Using Rural IL Power to Address the Needs of People with
Disabilities Living in Poverty.” In their presentation, they will discuss how
poverty affects Independent Living (IL), rural resources that Centers for
Independent Living (CILs) can leverage to help address poverty, and how
community development strategies can address poverty among people with
disabilities living in their community. Dr. Sage will also briefly describe a number
of new opportunities for CILs to get involved in RTC:Rural’s research and rural
community development projects to address local issues that affect IL services.
Rights & Resources, a Center for Independent Living in
Birmingham, Alabama, is using RTC:Rural’s Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit to
introduce and teach advocacy skills to youth with disabilities by conducting
workshops across Alabama. With assistance from a grant from the Alabama Council on
Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights & Resources was
able to hire a Community Empowerment Specialist to organize the advocacy
“We learned about the toolkit from APRIL [the Association of
Programs for Rural Independent Living],” said Elizabeth Patton,
Program Coordinator at Disability Rights & Resources. “Using
improvisational skills seems like a fun and engaging way to build advocacy,
especially in youth,” she said. “Looking over this toolkit, it was really nice
to have everything we needed already summed up into one Facilitator Guide with
accompanying Power Point presentations.”
Click on the image to visit the casebook entry on KTDRR’s website.
Research done in isolation can often miss critical connections and applications, especially in the adoption phase, when much can be ‘lost in translation’ between the researchers and the end users. Knowledge translation (KT), or the process of facilitating that transfer of information, helps make sure that the research being done and the resulting solutions and products are easily understood, relevant, and useful.
One way to make sure that a project is relevant is to follow the integrated knowledge translation approach, which is to include stakeholders throughout the entire project, from planning to sharing the final results. A specific method within this approach is participatory curriculum development (PCD). The Healthy Community Living project is a successful example of PCD in action. Continue reading →
The Health My Way app was designed to be used on a tablet. The app guides users through health promotion content.
For people with disabilities in rural communities, it can be hard to access health care. Lack of services, distance, or lack of transportation can be substantial barriers to receiving adequate health care and preventative health care. Self-management health practices could help reduce the need for acute-care medical services for those in rural areas.
To help address this, researchers at RTC:Rural have worked to develop a health promotion app called Health My Way. The app, which is meant to be used on a tablet, guides users through health promotion content derived from the Healthy Community Living program. The Health My Way app allows users to explore up to 22 content areas including topics such as Disability Identity, Goal Setting, Healthy Relationships, and Eating Well. Users are also matched with a health coach who meets with them either in person or via telephone to review the content of the program, as well as provide accountability and support. Continue reading →