How Rural Hospitals Impact Their Communities

By July 29, 2021 Uncategorized
Rural country view of a road and a truck driving down it

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear or read the word “hospital”? Emergency rooms and maternity wards? Intensive care units? Maybe nurses, doctors, and technological equipment?

It’s true that all of these are essential aspects of a highly functioning hospital, but in actuality, there are many more ways in which a hospital impacts its community. Especially in non-metropolitan, rural areas like the one we at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes are dedicated to serving. 

Providing Comprehensive Care

“Small rural hospitals deliver not only traditional hospital services such as emergency care, inpatient care, and laboratory testing, but also rehabilitation, long-term care, maternity care, home health care, and even primary care,” the support team at Saving Rural Hospitals (a site maintained by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR)) asserts. For many in rural communities, there simply are no other healthcare alternatives.

Serving Those Who Need It Most

And citizens in rural communities may need the most medical assistance. According to a 2017 examination of rural health by the CDC, “Rural Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke than their urban counterparts.” The same report shows that rural Americans also experience an approximate 50% increase in unintentional injury deaths, in part due to long travel distances resulting in a greater risk of motor vehicle accidents, and lower seatbelt use.

Though it may come as a surprise, addiction and substance abuse can also be a larger problem in rural communities. “Rural adults have higher rates of use for tobacco and methamphetamines, while prescription drug misuse and heroin use has grown in towns of every size,” the Rural Health Information Hub reported in 2020. Where there are often limited resources for prevention and rehabilitation, these health problems can be even more challenging to combat.

Supporting the Local Economy

Rural hospitals are commonly one of the largest employers in rural areas. “On average,” the Rural Health Information Hub states, “the health sector constitutes 14% of total employment in rural communities. . . .”

But providing jobs isn’t the only way in which community hospitals can stimulate their local economies. Adequate health and emergency services also attract new businesses and industries, while bringing and retaining visitors, workers, and retirees to the area, as well.

Consider a hospital’s buying power, too. When well-funded, hospitals can create  “. . . billions of revenues in purchasing goods and services from other businesses,” as a currently ongoing study reported in the Rural Health Research Gateway reminds us.

Understanding the Community

Rural hospital professionals also live where their patients live. They know the local history, news, and weather reports. They understand the community’s concerns and values. The doctors, nurses, and staff aren’t simply hospital employees — they are also neighbors.

This is one of our primary values at LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, where we provide high-quality care and education across a variety of health topics. Whether you’ve experienced an emergency, require laboratory testing or surgery, are looking for a pediatrician or general practitioner  — we are here to meet you, and your needs, in these areas and more

Learn more about Atlanta-based LifeBrite, led by CEO Christian Fletcher, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes, and Lifebrite Laboratories. To learn more about our services and facilities at Stokes, visit our website or call (336) 593-2831.