Increasing Access and Improving Palliative Care in Rural Communities

April 12, 2021

BLOOMINGTON, MN (April 12, 2021) Additional data and insight about the impact of making palliative care services available in rural communities are newly available following a three-year effort by Stratis Health. This work will contribute to reducing disparities in access and services through improved and updated tools and resources reflecting the lessons learned over the last three years, including an important new service development framework relevant for rural communities.

“Rural communities have a significant need for palliative care but are also uniquely positioned to meet the challenges of providing palliative care through collaborative community-based efforts to help address disparities in access and services,” said Jennifer Lundblad, Stratis Health president and CEO. “The outcomes, tools, and collaboration that resulted from this three-year effort will contribute to accelerating the implementation of rural community-based palliative care nationwide.”

The latest initiatives built on more than a decade of Stratis Health’s pioneering work in supporting the development of rural community-based palliative care teams and services in Minnesota. Over the past three years, Stratis Health partnered with State Offices of Rural Health in North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin to implement the project and the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis to support evaluation. Newly released reports and resources include:

  • Rural Community-based Palliative Care Project Brief, 2017-2020. Highlights of a three-year project to support and expand development of rural community-based palliative care teams and services in Minnesota, North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Includes an external evaluation of program outcomes completed by the NORC Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis. (3-page PDF)
  • Project ECHO Summary Report. Overview and lessons learned from implementing a nine-month Project ECHO focused on palliative care clinical skill development with 11 rural Minnesota community teams. (6-page PDF)
  • Sustainability Strategies for Community-based Palliative Care. Financing and reimbursement are primary challenges in developing and sustaining community-based palliative care services. This document describes themes identified in developing a business case and offers examples of sustainability strategies and resources used to support palliative care services in rural communities. (9-page PDF)
  • Rural Community-based Palliative Care: A framework and toolkit for designing high-value, right-sized programs. Stratis Health recently developed a framework for rural community-based palliative care program development reflecting foundational components, process development, and service implementation. Stratis Health revised and updated its library of tools and resources, now organized around the new framework. The toolkit contains guidance and links to a comprehensive set of resources to support rural leaders in developing community-based palliative care services.

For more information on our rural community-based palliative care work contact Karla Weng ( or Janelle Shearer (