Montana Trails Rx
Based in: Missoula, Billings, Helena, and Bozeman, Montana
Participating Agency: Bike Walk Montana
Unique Features: Informational maps outlining “prescription” walking routes and walking guides that identify levels of difficulty and accessibility.
Bike Walk Montana and local parks and recreation staff work with clinics to develop walking prescriptions with easily understood written walking maps and goals. The clinics manage administration of the prescriptions, specifically:
- Introducing the walking prescription concept to medical providers and care coordinators.
- Developing instructions for staff to promote “enrollment” of patients.
- Assigning care coordinator follow-ups with each patient to assess progress at one-month, three-month and six-month intervals.
- Including the prescription for walking in the patient’s medical records to encourage follow-up assessment of the program.
Medical providers (MDs and NPs) are able to write these prescriptions for appropriate patients. The medical providers assess and note progress in patient’s medical records. This includes the original prescription as well as reinforcement throughout the period of medical oversight, helping to ensure that the medical “prescription” becomes ingrained as part of a healthy life choice. This project offers three levels of patient participation: (a) walking prescriptions with maps provided by the medical providers, (b) neighborhood walking groups – coordinated by care coordinators and/or other volunteers, and (c) a walk buddy system – coordinated and advertised by the clinic’s care coordinator, trail organizations/parks and recreation staff and/or other volunteers.