Raising Awareness and Inclusion for Healthy Hearts (KY UCEDD)

March 26, 2018

The Kentucky CARE Collaborative (Cardiovascular, Assessment, Risk-reduction and Education) is a free blood pressure awareness program that aims to increase the number of people who are taking action to help control elevated blood pressure through appropriate counseling about health behaviors and/or lifestyle changes. Because Kentuckians with disabilities can have higher blood pressure than those without disabilities, HDI is coordinating the Project CHEER effort to provide more inclusive CARE programming.

A pilot project was conducted targeting individuals with cognitive and mobility limitations, and Project CHEER made the CARE programming more universally accessible to include individuals with disabilities. 63 participants with disabilities and one family member completed a total of 107 individual CARE interventions. During CARE interventions, Project CHEER took blood pressure and asked participants to identify where their blood pressure fell in the at-risk range (normal, caution, and high). Based on their range results, a health education discussion on lifestyle choices and risk reduction strategies was conducted.

As a result, 91% of individuals in the pilot correctly identified their at-risk blood pressure range, which is comparable to statewide CARE programming, demonstrating that individuals with varying levels of cognitive ability could access and benefit from CARE programming with simple universally designed adaptations. In the future, the new universally designed materials can be integrated into programming by training current and future CARE staff across Kentucky to better serve individuals with disabilities.