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Gerontologist. 2002 Jun;42(3):399-405.

Coordination and advocacy for rural elders (CARE): a model of rural case management with veterans.

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Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Louisville, KY 40202, USA.



To describe a pilot initiative sponsored by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to improve the health and community tenure of frail older veterans living in rural counties 50-100 miles from two host VHA medical centers.


Veterans aged 75 and older who scored at risk of repeated hospital admission on the PRA-Plus telephone questionnaire were targeted and visited by evaluators who administered a comprehensive health questionnaire prior to being assessed at home by the Coordination and Advocacy for Rural Elders (CARE) program clinical teams. Guided by current state-of-the-art practices, the nurse-social worker teams performed in-home standardized assessments using the MDS-HC, developed patient-specific care plans, and mobilized family, community, and VHA resources to implement plans.


On average, eight problems were identified for each patient, most commonly falls risk, social needs, pain, and needs related to IADL disability. As a result of initial assessment, two thirds of CARE participants received referral/linkage to formal services, more than half to medical providers.


Through CARE, the VHA is learning more about the unmet needs of older rural veterans. Further development and evaluation should guide the VHA toward providing efficient, effective community-based services to all frail older veterans.

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