Study seeks Valley residents with chronic health conditions

Healthcare is a hot topic for most rural residents, whether it’s needing a family doctor or having to travel to get specialist treatment. If you live with more than one chronic condition that requires recurrent visits or readmissions to hospital or clinics, you face unique challenges living in rural Ontario. Now a project from the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University is examining these challenges in detail. MSc Graduate Research Student Lindsay Dorder wants to speak to you if you are:

  • 18 years or older and diagnosed with more than one chronic health condition
  • Able to independently consent
  • At least one week post-discharge

Dorder first told The Current about this research project during a visit to Barry’s Bay last fall. The goal of the study is to understand post-discharge health management for people in rural areas. At that time, Dorder had just attended Free Range, a workshop for international experts held at The Sands on Golden Lake in October when Canadian researchers welcomed their peers from Austria, Australia and Sweden to discuss shared challenges facing rural communities. Themes included rural livelihoods, population change, tourism, mental health, and health service delivery. In a recent follow-up interview, Dorder said she is still looking for more participants from the Valley for her study.

She said, “The most important thing for us is that they have experienced a lengthy hospital stay; that is, for more than two nights. And on top of that having a chronic condition such as heart disease, COPD, diabetes.” Dorder explained that she hopes to include stories from people both with and without a family doctor, saying, “That experience of not having a family doctor is something that I want to include in the results. Right now the participants that we have had are people who do have a family doctor, so I am really interested in interviewing folks that don’t have a family doctor.”

What’s involved?

You can help with the Carleton University study by agreeing to a telephone call with Dorder. Your identity will be kept confidential and the data in the study results is all anonymous. The interview begins with some simple yes/no questions. This is followed by some questions developed with professors and graduate students of Carleton University Health Sciences Department. The survey questions were also reviewed by a patient caregiver adviser in Madawaska Valley to ensure relevance to Valley residents. The process is quite open-ended and no one is required to answer every question.

Dorder would love to hear your story about your experiences after discharge from hospital. You do not need to have a family doctor to participate. The conversation may take up to one hour of your time but to thank you for your participation, Dorder is able to provide a $20 gift card by way of compensation. And more importantly you’ll have the satisfaction of having helped provide data that may one day assist in improving healthcare in rural communities around the world.

For more information, please contact Lindsay Dorder, Carleton University Department of Health Sciences. Email:

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