Data from a month’s long survey provide health insight for local organizations
Carson Tahoe Health and Carson City Health & Human Services, in partnership with several area health organizations, are now officially assessing community feedback, following the wrap-up of an in-depth regional health survey.
“The Community Health Needs Assessment report informs various agencies of the current health status of the community they are serving,” says Nicki Aaker, Director of Carson City Health & Human Services. “The next step is to use this information to develop a data-driven community action plan that determines the best use of available resources to address the needs and gaps identified.”
For this year’s report (conducted every 3 – 5 years), over 2,000 Quad County residents participated through various mediums including an online survey, focus groups, and telephone interviews.
This data provides agencies with what locals perceive to be the most pressing health issues, updates on historical issue status, and the availability of opportunities to be physically, mentally, socially, and economically healthy in our community.
“Understanding that nearly 1 out of every 3 respondents essentially identified themselves as lonely – and understanding that chronic unabated loneliness can have the same negative effects on physical and mental health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” says Erik Schoen, Chief Executive Officer, Community Chest, Inc., “…Will be super helpful in helping us to develop meaningful interventions and programs to improve both physical and mental well-being through increasing social-connectedness.”
The above data point is just one of many insights that came out of the survey and merit further study. Community members shared struggles with access to basic needs, (this includes safe and affordable housing, access to quality childcare, and affordable prescriptions), mental and emotional health, access to healthcare for specific populations, and substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery.
Action to address the top community needs is already underway.
“Access to timely care across the spectrum of provider type, including primary care, specialty care, mental health care, and substance use treatment, is greatly impacted by state and nationwide provider shortages,” says Michelle Joy, President and CEO of Carson Tahoe Health. “We are working diligently to recruit and retain providers, as well as develop proactive outpatient support programs that will help our community members get and stay healthy.”
This assessment was a multi-agency effort, with all organizations sharing the same framework and the goal to make progress together.
Community members are encouraged to read and provide feedback on the report, and to participate in the development of Community Health Improvement Plans. Announcements on that work will be forthcoming in the coming months through the partner agencies.