Minnesota Nursing magazine

Partnership brings PAD expertise to rural Minnesota

Health and mobility of older adults expected to improve
Barb Schlaefer

Diane Treat-JacobsonApproximately 20 percent of Americans over the age of 70 have peripheral artery disease. This chronic condition causes blockages in the arteries that feed the legs, depriving leg muscles of oxygen, which can lead to debilitating pain. People with the disease are at greater risk of heart attacks, strokes and amputations. The pain sensation gets worse with walking, which can limit patients’ ability and desire to be active. Many believe the leg pain is an incurable symptom of growing older.

“Despite its high prevalence and often severe symptoms, peripheral artery disease is an underdiagnosed and undertreated condition, especially in rural communities,” said Professor Diane Treat-Jacobson, PhD, RN, FAAN, project director and lead researcher on effective interventions for the disease.

Now, School of Nursing clinicians and researchers who have made groundbreaking discoveries in the diagnosis and treatment of this painful vascular disease are partnering with five health centers in greater Minnesota to improve outcomes for patients. A lead partnership with Fergus Falls-based Lake Region Health Care began this summer, with four more community sites in other parts of rural Minnesota to be named later this year.

Aimed at boosting the health and mobility of older adults in rural Minnesota, the PAD PRAIRIE Initiative enables the University to bring targeted expertise, education and resources to five communities. The three-year project will build the capacity of health care professionals, including public health staff, to diagnose, manage and treat patients with the condition, as well as educate the public on prevention.

The PAD PRAIRIE Initiative is made possible by a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation.