Partnership With The South Carolina Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging Expands Evidence-based Programs For Older Adults With Arthritis
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the nation and one of the most common chronic conditions. Nearly one third of adults in South Carolina (SC) have arthritis, and it is even more common among older people. Forty percent of adults 45-64 years of age have arthritis, and nearly 60% of those 65 years of age and older have some form of the disease. Arthritis limits everyday activities for million of Americans and takes a tremendous toll on the health care system. In 2003, the state’s total arthritis-related costs were more than $2 billion.
Since the inception of the Arthritis Program in 1998, states have received a minimal amount of federal funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand programs for people with arthritis. As a result, the reach and visibility of interventions to address arthritis have been limited.
In 2008 South Carolina was one of 40 states to compete for a four-year federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that would substantially increase the funding for arthritis and one of 12 states to receive the grant award. The grant has enabled the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to apply more resources toward expanding evidence-based prevention programs by developing systemic partnerships.
South Carolina has a goal of reaching roughly 40,000 people by July 2012. A partnership with the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging has provided an opportunity to work with the statewide Aging Network to expand evidence-based programs through agreements with Area Agencies on Aging and County Councils on Aging.
During the first six months of the new grant cycle, the following accomplishments were made:
- 81 staff or volunteers from the County Councils on Aging were trained in one or more evidence-based prevention programs
- 21 of the 46 County Councils on Aging are now offering arthritis programs
- 67 classes offered, with 976 people reached through the Aging Network efforts
- Positive feedback from people with arthritis and other chronic conditions
- Increased awareness and accessibility of arthritis programs
- Better quality of programs and more choices for older adults
- A stronger partnership between the State Health Department and the State Unit on Aging
- Policy changes at the state level to support evidence-based programs
- Increased outreach in underserved areas by the Aging Network