Tools for Improving Clinical Preventive Services Receipt Among Women with Disabilities of Childbearing Ages and Beyond

Identifying Tools to Improve Clinical Preventive Services for Women with Disabilities

The Maternal and Child Health Journal published findings of a search for tools to improve use of clinical preventive services among women with disabilities. As a result of the search, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs developed TOOLBOX: Improving the Receipt of Clinical Preventive Services among Women with Disabilities.External

This toolbox can be used by health professionals to facilitate and deliver clinical preventive services among the more than 28 million women of childbearing age and beyond living with disabilities. Compared with their peers without disabilities, women with disabilities are less likely to receive routine physical examinations, teeth cleanings, hepatitis B vaccinations, cervical and breast cancer screenings, family planning services and other preventive services to improve their health.

You can read the article’s abstract hereExternal

TOOLBOX: Improving the Receipt of Clinical Preventive Services among Women with Disabilities

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP)External offers a toolbox that can help women with disabilities receive recommended clinical preventive services. This toolbox contains information to help maternal and child programs working with women with disabilities, as well as healthcare practitioners and women with disabilities themselves through:

  • Increasing knowledge and use of recommended clinical preventive services
  • Identifying service gaps and monitoring progress in filling the gaps
  • Creating accessible communities
  • Empowering healthcare providers and women with disabilities to interact effectively

Main Findings

  • National data show that women with disabilities are less likely to receive recommended clinical preventive services than women without disabilities.
  • Measurements for some of the recommended services are unavailable because they lack a source for data, or data analyses have not been done.
  • There are several tools available that can help women with disabilities receive important clinical preventive services.

About this Study

  • Efforts to improve the number of women with disabilities that receive clinical preventive services are poorly understood and not widely disseminated.
  • The researchers that conducted this study contacted experts in the fields of disability and women’s health, and searched the internet to find examples of existing tools that could potentially be used by maternal and child health programs to improve access to clinical preventive services for women with disabilities.
  • Nine examples of tools were located, providing information that can potentially:
    • Facilitate use of the clinical preventive services guidelines,
    • Monitor the number of women with disabilities that receive clinical preventive services,
    • Improve the accessibility of communities and local transportation for people with disabilities, and
    • Train healthcare providers and women with disabilities to communicate effectively.
  • The researchers hosted a meeting with state and local programs to present the selected tools, solicit input, and determine their potential use.
  • A toolbox was created that offers central access to existing tools, and accepts feedback and proposals for additional tools that can potentially help maternal and child health programs, healthcare providers, and public health practitioners better locate, adopt and implement these resources to increase the number of women with disabilities that receive recommended clinical preventive services.
Clinical preventive services – what are they?

Clinical preventive services can prevent disease or detect disease early, when treatment is more effective. These services include screenings for chronic conditions, immunizations for diseases such as influenza and pneumonia, and counseling about personal health behaviors. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)External provides a complete list of all recommended services

What can be done?

These findings suggest that greater attention needs to be shown to women with disabilities in organizational and community-based efforts to improve the number of women of childbearing ages and beyond that receive recommended clinical preventive services. This toolbox comprises an opportunity for state and local public health programs to examine their roles in improving clinical preventive services to women with disabilities and to incorporate available tools into their working strategies. Healthcare providers and health educators can help improve the receipt of clinical preventive services among women with disabilities by:

  • Posting a list of the clinical preventive service guidelines where they can be easily seen by their female patients. The appendix inside the manuscript identifies 28 preventive services (routine exams, vaccinations, health screenings, and counseling) that can benefit women of childbearing ages and beyond.
  • Helping schedule clinic appointments for preventive services within the recommended timeframe. Preventive health care is a great gift to give and receive in a person’s birthday month.
  • Identifying which tools in the toolbox can be of most use in the healthcare setting.

Ideally everyone, including women with disabilities, should be familiar with the recommended clinical preventive services and their routine use. To stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of conditions, prevent any current conditions from becoming worse or debilitating, and lead productive lives women with disabilities can:

  • Review their insurance policy before scheduling appointments to determine if the preventive health care service is fully covered. Under recent health care laws, most likely it is.
  • Visit the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC)External that helps people with disabilities receive accurate information when selecting and enrolling in insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces.
  • Keep clinic appointments, and bring a list of preventive services scheduled for clinic visits, along with copies of the previous results for comparison if anything has changed.
  • Create and keep a set of health records to know when the services were received, what the results were and when the next periodic services are due.
  • Set up a reminder system for the next appointment and which preventive services are needed.

CDC’s Activities:

CDC works with partner organizations to promote healthy lifestyles and improve quality of life for all people with disabilities, including women with disabilities. CDC monitors the health of people with and without disabilities, and supports the inclusion of people with disabilities in public health programs that prevent disease and promote healthy behaviors, while working to eliminate barriers to health care and improve access to routine preventive services.

More Information

To learn more about the CDC Disability and Health program, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth.

To learn more about the AMCHP Toolbox, please visit http://www.amchp.org/programsandtopics/womens-health/Focus%20Areas/WomensHealthDisability/Pages/default.aspxExternal.

To learn more about women’s health, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/women/.

To learn more about the preventive services, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/prevention/index.html.

Key Findings Reference

Sinclair LB, Taft KE, Sloan ML, Stevens AC, Krahn GL. Tools for Improving Clinical Preventive Services Receipt Among Women with Disabilities of Childbearing Ages and Beyond. Matern Child Health J. 2014 Oct 31.