Mission Statement: Every person deserves access to high quality end-of-life care, but for rural and indigenous communities access is often compromised by cultural, geographic and institutional barriers. Through the Life Transitions Project, YoloCares is deconstructing obstacles to ensure equal access for all. Guided by the spirit of community empowerment, YoloCares recognizes that our diversity is what makes us whole.

Project Background:

Native American and rural communities are overburdened with chronic conditions that disproportionately lead to terminal illnesses, yet these groups also have the lowest percentage of individuals utilizing supportive care services such as hospice and palliative care. Though all Medicare consumers are entitled to hospice benefits, Native American and rural dwelling families experience unique barriers to accessing these services even when qualified.

To identify persistent barriers that pose unique challenges to Native American and rural populations across Yolo, Solano, Sacramento, Colusa, and Sutter counties, YoloCares undertook a three-year Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Quality Improvement project.

The assessment was conducted using a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach. Project leads gathered community input through a public survey, community workshops, focus group discussions, and one-to-one interviews. Discussions included community perceptions regarding advance care directives, grief practices, healthcare access barriers faced by both Native American and rural communities, and utilization of in-home care services.

Bolstered by a CBPR approach, foundational community relationships were built to seek ways to combat historic disparities. YoloCares worked to understand the needs of the community directly from rural and Native American community members, and utilized the community’s feedback to develop solutions to address barriers to accessing end-of-life services.

At YoloCares, we believe that every person deserves dignity at the end of life. The Life Transitions Project represents our commitment as an agency to uphold this principle within our own community

Craig Dresang, YoloCares CEO

Assessment Findings and Solutions

YoloCares has published two documents that delve into the details of the community health needs assessment, its findings, and proposed solutions. The Life Transitions Project Magazine offers readers a narrative of findings and solutions. The Life Transitions Project Report includes all aspects of the assessment design, implementation, additional resources, as well as findings and solutions.

If you would like to connect with Researchers Brandy Jones and Aliya Patel, please email bjones@yolocares.org.

Project Sponsors

Thank you for the generosity of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, an independent, self-governed nation whose philanthropic efforts created the opportunity to conduct this project. Their commitment to improve community health will have a far-reaching impact across Yolo County and surrounding communities.

YoloCares would like to acknowledge Sutter Health for their generous support of the Life Transitions Project. This important work to improve health equity for Native American and rural communities could not have been accomplished without their vision and support.

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