A Trou­bling Di­ag­no­sis:

Se­ries find­ings

Rappahannock News - - FROM PAGE ONE -

As we look ahead to Sun­day’s com­mu­nity fo­rum (de­tails be­low), here’s a sum­mary of this sum­mer’s Rap­pa­han­nock NewsFoothills Fo­rum se­ries about health­care in the county. See the ad be­low for in­for­ma­tion on Sun­day’s get-to­gether.

PART ONE: In Rap­pa­han­nock, health care headaches for an ag­ing com­mu­nity

Rap­pa­han­nock’s se­niors love this place and value pri­vacy, but many know it can be a hard place to grow old.

Rap­pa­han­nock ranks ahead of neigh­bor­ing coun­ties in key cat­e­gories ac­cord­ing to an an­nual health re­port. The county’s obe­sity rat­ing is ris­ing, though still be­low state and na­tional lev­els. But Rap­pa­han­nock rates poorly in ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices — no hos­pi­tals, three doc­tors (one is here one day a week) and a high rate of unin­sured adults (18 per­cent) and chil­dren (11 per­cent). We are a med­i­cally un­der­served com­mu­nity.

Neigh­bor­ing health care sys­tems strug­gle to re­cruit doc­tors to the area.

The “No.1 un­der­served area:” Se­niors strug­gling with men­tal health is­sues that deepen with iso­la­tion.

PART TWO: As Rap­pa­han­nock gets older, so do the vol­un­teers who han­dle its med­i­cal emer­gen­cies

We are the last county in Vir­ginia en­tirely de­pen­dent on vol­un­teer fire and res­cue crews. Those ad­mirable — and ag­ing — crews serve an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion with ris­ing ex­pec­ta­tions. The best-qual­i­fied squad mem­bers carry a dis­pro­por­tion­ate load in an­swer­ing calls. Lo­cal chiefs say ser­vice and re­sponse times aren’t is­sues even with their older crews. A far greater threat is a ma­jor fire.

RappU of­fers a hy­brid course for ba­sic EMT cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, but the ini­tial re­sponse failed to fill avail­able slots.

Su­per­vi­sors ac­knowl­edge that pro­fes­sion­al­iz­ing the EMT cadre is an is­sue with real im­pli­ca­tions for tax­pay­ers and for the still-com­mit­ted vol­un­teers.

PART THREE: Rap­pa­han­nock’s com­mu­nity or­ga­nizes to con­front an un­cer­tain fu­ture

Lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions – The Food Pantry, Rapp at Home, Ag­ing To­gether, RCPS’s Com­mit to Be Fit, RappU, The Benev­o­lent Fund, other non­prof­its, foun­da­tions, churches and vol­un­teer groups – are loosely or­ga­niz­ing to deal with the county’s health chal­lenges. Chief among them: Get­ting pa­tients to med­i­cal ser­vices.

Due to the short­age of med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als and fa­cil­i­ties, many health care ex­perts be­lieve telemedicine will need to be­come a core com­po­nent of ru­ral health care. That is highly de­pen­dent on com­pre­hen­sive, re­li­able broad­band ser­vice, which re­mains in short sup­ply in the county.

A grow­ing fear is that in five to 10 years, a lot more county res­i­dents will need help to stay phys­i­cally and men­tally healthy and get med­i­cal care, but there will be far fewer peo­ple to help them.

So far Rap­pa­han­nock has been spared the worst of the na­tional – and nearby – opi­oid cri­sis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.