Tennessee Today (Univ. of TN) (07.23.2013)
Aids Weekly Plus
A new two-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Nursing Research, will examine what services are lacking for residents of the Appalachian regions of Tennessee and Alabama who are dying from HIV/AIDS. According to Sadie Hutson, the project’s principal investigator, “End-of-life planning and care are especially critical in high-prevalence areas of the United States, such as Southern Appalachia; yet very little is known about the needs or the availability of end-of-life services for those in this region.”
The research team, which includes professors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, will conduct one-on-one interviews with patients to assess conditions that affect end-of-life needs, such as lack of health services, poverty, unemployment, geographic hardships, insurance issues, and insufficient education. “This study is one of the first to investigate the contribution of the unique Appalachian culture and beliefs about end-of-life care in an area that has historically been underserved with regard to healthcare services,” Hutson said.
The $420,000 study hopes to develop a map that will pinpoint service locations and show disparities in the quantity, quality, and access to those locations. Future health strategies then could compare what services were needed—such as hospice care, specialized healthcare, and psychological services, among others—with what already existed. “This study will set the stage for developing and testing interventions aimed at increasing accessibility, cultural appropriateness, and acceptability and utilization of services, as well as increasing provider awareness of the particular needs of the population and its subgroups,” said Hutson.