Document Type



Purpose The purpose of this report was to determine if providing of health care and health promotion services specially designed for the elderly would increase their use of health care services and ultimately impact on their health status. Specific objectives included: 1) obtain an accurate data base of the current health care problems in the elderly Indian population; 2) obtain an accurate description of health care utilization by the elderly Indian population; 3) determine if the provision of health care and health promotion services specially designed for the elderly would increase their use of health care services; and 4) determine the impact of increase utilization of health care services on the health care status of the elderly Indian population. Methods The Fort Peck Service Unit served as the pilot location for the project. Elderly patients from the entire Fort Peck Service Unit were included in the project. User population for the elderly patients at Fort Peck was identified to be 340 patients for the age group 65 and older and 755 patients for the age group 55 years and older. The target population of highest priority were elderly 70 years of age and older. The Fort Peck Service Unit was chosen as the location for the project because of both the Indian Health Service and the Tribe had a strong interest in developing an elderly wellness program. Results During Phase I, a health assessment tool was administered to two distinct groups of the elderly population - robust (under 70 years of age) and frail (70 years of age and older) - on the Fort Peck Reservation. The purpose of the tool was to identify health care needs of the elderly. In Phase II, an education program was developed for the health care providers at the Fort Peck reservation. The goal of the education was to assist local health care staff at Fort Peck to determine if existing programs met elderly health needs and tailor programs to meet identified needs. Phase III has been extended into a long-term goal to develop a regular, supportive, and interesting meal site and activity program that would provide opportunities to render ongoing health care services. Conclusion While elderly persons are valued members of Tribes and while Indian Health Service strongly wants to serve this population, the comprehensive care for the elderly remains an unmet health need.

Publication Date



Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857