Document Type



University of Montana Rural Institute

Publication Date



Demography, Population, and Ecology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Little is known about the experiences of people living in rural areas who need paid assistance for activities of daily living in their homes. This study focused on how rurality and access to workers intersected with the daily and community experiences of people who rely on personal assistants (termed “consumers”) for their activities of daily living. We 38 semi-structured qualitative interviews with people who used personal assistance services and identified as living in a rural place. Interview topics included: Finding, hiring, and training workers; worker qualities; and how living in a rural place impacted personal assistance services. From these interviews, we identified three main themes: 1) Type of rural community matters, 2) aspects of rural living that impact personal assistance services and community living, and 3) important worker characteristics for providing rural services. These findings indicate that variations in rural contexts and culture need to be considered in service delivery and practice.


Personal assistance services, personal care attendants, rural, people with disabilities, worker characteristics


This poster was presented November 8, 2022 at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.


© 2022 Krys Standley, Rayna Sage, & Carissa Russell

Granting Agency

The contents of this poster were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (90RTCP0002-01-00). However, the contents of this poster do not necessarily represent the policy of the Administration for Community Living, nor is it endorsed by the US Federal Government.


We would like to thank the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) for hosting the videoconferences that provided the data used in this study. We would also like to thank the participants in these meetings, especially Mary Willard, who facilitated these meetings and organized the meeting transcripts for review.

Project Number

National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research grant number 90RTCP0002-01-00.