Topic: Rural Health and Social Care Services
Key Words: Rural health, rural aging, care services, policy
Rural health and social care services are important for the health of older people in rural areas of English-speaking countries of North America, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. This is often attributed to known age effects from rural populations being older on average than urban populations, lower incomes, higher poverty rates and greater geographic and social isolation in rural compared to urban locales. Larger shares of rural residents are also in farming and extractive industry occupations that pose greater risks for disability. Many rural areas are disadvantaged in access to, availability and quality of acute health care services. This rural disadvantage may also extend to long-term and respite care services. We use a multi-scalar theoretical perspective to examine facilitators and constraints on rural aging care services. Recent research found that interrelationships between organizations within a community and linkages to organizations and institutions in other, often larger places are important for the provision of services in rural communities. Local governments interact with state and national-level policies that can diminish or enhance rural care services, e.g., in the UK and other European countries austerity had a significant impact on service provision. We will systematically examine the literature on policies that effect services and consequently effect health outcomes.