Date of this Version
Hanson, R. 2023. The Effects of Telehealth on Access to Palliative Care in Rural Communities. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Patients with serious and life-limiting illnesses are in need of palliative care which allows for both the patient and their family to learn how to live a relatively quality life in spite of their illness. Current access to palliative care is limited to urban areas leaving those in rural communities to face their illness without proper care. To understand why these limitations exist and to determine possible solutions, several articles were analyzed that focused on the benefits and stigmas of palliative care, why rural communities struggle to gain access to palliative care, and if telehealth is a possible solution to the access issue. The review of these articles found that palliative care highly benefits patients and their families in life and death. However, this care is lacking in rural communities for many reasons and the current solution is telehealth. Telehealth is able to provide some access to palliative care but, in some areas, falls short of meeting the same standards of in-person palliative care. To remedy this, as palliative care grows and more individuals are trained to provide this specialty of care, more research must be done to learn how to apply palliative care in rural communities. In the meantime, telehealth must continue to be improved as it will remain highly utilized for the time being, and is viewed positively by both patients and providers.