R4

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Research Project 4: Model Primary Care Clinic

Development of a Model Primary Care Clinic for Adults with Long-term Physical Disabilities

 

 

Project Directors: Michael McKee, MD and Elham Mahmoudi, PhD

patient in wheelchair with doctor

Premature multimorbidity and adverse health events are more common among persons with physical disabilities (PWPD) compared with population norm. Research shows that healthy aging is strongly influenced by patients’ social, behavioral, and environmental variables. However, patients’ information on social and functional status factors is not systematically collected and therefore is not used in medical decision making to promote healthy aging among this vulnerable population.

There is evidence that primary care generates the largest ability to reduce illness and premature death, as well as provide more equitable health care in populations, yet little is known how this can be achieved effectively for PWPD. The CDC has provided suggested recommendations to address the existing gaps for individuals with disabilities. These actions include: a) providing a system in which PWPD at risk for premature death can be identified to provide additional health care and social services that may be needed; b) tailor health care services, including health education and prevention, for PWPD whose needs differ from the typical patient population; c) improve the inclusion of behavioral health interventions for PWPD; and d) provide care management for PWPD by health care staff trained to work with this population.  

This two –part research project will develop a model primary care clinic for adults with long-term disabilities. The two main sections of this projects are (1) to design, pilot, and evaluate an accessible, integrated health program for PWPD at a primary care clinic, scalable for other integrated health centers, and (2) to assess how the systematic collection of social and functional status information and use of this information by care managers may reduce adverse health events and improve social and functional status of PWPD.