Self-Directed Personal Assistant Services

  About 10 million people with disabilities receive paid personal assistant services in the United States. These services are critical for social and community participation. And self-directed services allow for personal choice and control by the consumer.    
    However, little is known about rural-urban differences in the delivery of these services and how this influences community participation and health. To address this, RTC is conducting research in rural America. Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC: Rural Project Director, explains the project and its goals and gives a quick progress update.
    This project has three exciting components that involve getting a lay of the land, surveying and interview consumers across five states, and conducting interactive training to shape existing PAS training programs to better meet the needs of rural workers. Currently there is very little anecdotal data on the personal experiences of PAS consumers in rural areas. They are deciding on which questions and measures to include in the research and a consumer survey will be out this fall.  
     This will bring greater public awareness to the challenges and opportunities related to these vital services that are often the first to be cut during difficult budget years. The project will help tell the story of many rural people with disabilities that are using PAS services and making it work. This is important because these services are incredibly underfunded, but for many people in rural places, access to PAS services is vital to their independence.