Outer Banks Hospital shares 2019 Dare County Health Needs Assessment

Published 12:09 pm Sunday, November 10, 2019

The Outer Banks Hospital hosted a Community Health Needs Assessment presentation at Mako Mike’s on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Members of the Healthy Carolinians of the Outer Banks put together a summary of findings from Dare County for the presentation.

“Dare County participated in a regional Community Health Needs Assessment process called Health ENC,” the report read. Health ENC was started to improve the CHNA process in eastern North Carolina. Thirty-three counties in eastern North Carolina participated in CHNA this year through Health ENC.

Marcia Bryant, vice president of clinical operations at The Outer Banks Hospital, said this health assessment is done every three years. “The HBOC puts out a survey to look out what the most important items are and which ones are bubbling up,” she said. After the report has been compiled, task forces are sent out to work on the items of concern.

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After surveying the county, HCOB found that Dare residents think this county is a great place to live. 82% of respondents agreed with the statement “Dare count is a safe place to live,” 57% thought Dare County has plenty of help for those during times of need and 72% felt this county is a good place to raise children.

After consideration of the community programs and services available to the public in Dare County, HCOB selected the following three health priorities as needing more attention: mental health, substance abuse and transportation.

“Needs for counseling and support groups was ranked #3 for services needing the improvement amounts community survey participants.” CHNA found a need for both inpatient and outpatient care for people suffering with mental health and/or substance abuse. An opportunity to educate the public on mental health disorders was seen by HBOC from this assessment. Currently, there are 156 mental health providers per 100,000 people in Dare county.

Substance abuse was ranked first in the list of pressing health concerns within Dare County. Second-hand smoke was found to be a major factor of concern, as well as excessive drinking. “Survey respondents expressed concerns with the shortage of alcohol and drug counselors to help with treatment.”

Transportation was prioritized as a health concern. Dare County only has one transportation system that is open Monday through Friday. Two-day notice is needed to ensure service for medical appointments and other transportation needs. “Not all townships in Dare County have sidewalks, impacting residents’ ability to travel by foot.”

The CHNA found that 45% of respondents wanted to learn more about specific health topics, including holistic options to chronic diseases, nutrition and weight loss. The “built environment” that Dare County has to offer provides residents with many physical activity opportunities. There are five county recreation spots on Hatteras Island and the north beaches, and nine recreation spots on Roanoke Island. In all three locations, there is one national park as well.

To get involved with the journey to improve health around the community, consider joining the task force by calling 252-475-5079.