Extension helps establish a statewide Walk With Ease referral process

Oregon State University Extension Service offers all Oregonians free enrollment into the Walk With Ease program. Walk With Ease is an evidence-based physical activity program developed by the Arthritis Foundation that is proven to reduce the pain associated with arthritis, increase physical activity, decrease pain and fatigue and increase physical abilities and walking endurance. While originally designed for people with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions it is available to and beneficial for anyone hoping to become more active.

However, this program is not a commonly known resource for health care professionals and patients in Oregon, despite being largely accessible.

In response to this issue, OSU Extension Walk With Ease began meeting with Samaritan Health Services Health Education serving Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties. The focus of these meetings has been to discuss Walk With Ease programming, create marketing materials for providers and work on pathways for health care referrals. Over the past couple of years, the Extension-Samaritan partnership has established an effective referral pathway for providers to refer patients to Walk With Ease.

In October 2023, Extension facilitated a discussion with Samaritan and the Oregon Wellness Network to discuss expanding this process statewide. Oregon Wellness Network is a division of the Oregon Association of Area Agencies on Aging & Disabilities, a non-profit organization that advocates for services for older adults and people of all ages living with disabilities.

As a result of these partnerships and this collective discussion, a statewide process has been established through both Samaritan Health Services Health Education and Oregon Wellness Network to conduct health care referrals to the Walk with Ease program. This partnership has already resulted in referrals, bringing the program to patients who can benefit from it.

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