Researchers sought to compile qualitative research on patient and caregiver experiences with chronic illness management services in Rural Patients areas of the United States for a study. To find qualitative studies published from 2010 to 2019, investigators searched Embase, MEDLINE, PsycInfo, CINAHL, and Scopus. A thematic synthesis approach was adopted to examine the findings from the papers that were included. A total of 62 studies were included in the analysis, with 1,354 unique participants. Cancer patients were the subject of the most research (24.2%), followed by mental health (16.1%), HIV and AIDS (14.5%), and diabetes (12.9%). Navigating the rural environment, navigating the health care system, financing chronic disease management, and rural life (i.e., common elements of a distinct “rural” way of thinking and behaving) were identified as 4 primary analytic themes of barriers and facilitators associated with the experience of accessing health care services for chronic disease management in rural areas. The study group discovered that major cultural, structural, and individual elements influenced the rural patient’s experience of health care access and usage, including geographic and built environment barriers and facilitators and specific rural mores, in this comprehensive analysis. The findings can be used to inform policies and programs that improve structural aspects of access while also including culturally appropriate treatments.
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