Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Graduate Nursing

First Advisor

Kay Foland


The purpose of this study was to identify factors that influence the health care utilization and preferences of rural, veteran elderly in southwestern South Dakota, northwestern Nebraska, and east central Wyoming. The Rural Veterans Health Utilization Assessment (RVHUA), a mailed questionnaire, was sent to 470 randomly selected, male veterans with a return rate of 42.8% (N = 201). The mean age of the sample was 73 years. Most respondents (89.6%) have a car and use it at least sparingly. Almost half (48.3%) travel over 50 miles to obtain health care. However, 66.7% of the respondents indicate they would attend an out-reach clinic if it was closer. The health topics most desired include: managing blood pressure (39.1 %), hearing impaired services (32.8%), lowering cholesterol (31.7%), stroke prevention (28.9%), foot clinic (27.9%), and early cancer detection (25.9%). Leading reported health problems include: arthritis (48.3%), hearing problems (44.8%), eye problems ((42.3%), high blood pressure (39.8%), and heart disease (30.3%). Almost half (48.8%) of the respondents report they would attend a health clinic solely for education. Overall, the data indicates the respondents desire those services that will assist them in maintaining an independent lifestyle in their own community.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Veterans -- Medical care
Rural elderly -- Medical care
Rural health services




South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright