barriers, healthcare access, physical therapy, rural America



  1. Osborne, Jacqueline Lovejoy PT, DPT, GCS


As Baby Boomers in America retire, the size of the elderly population is projected to increase in all states, with the majority relocating to the rural areas of California, Texas, and Florida. An increase in the number of aged Americans living in rural areas guarantees an increase in the need for physical therapy services in these areas. This article explores the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence and, in many instances, prevent an elderly individual's access to physical therapy services. Defining barriers to access in this manner may aid administrators, healthcare providers, and researchers in determining how to further define rural healthcare policy and, ultimately, how to allocate funds and human resources to improve access to physical therapy services to these aging American citizens. While the intrinsic factors presented help characterize life as a rural American elder, the extrinsic factors may be more readily changeable by federal and state policymakers based on data obtained in future research.