Making a Bad Situation Worse: Examining the Challenges Facing Rural Home Care Workers

John Kallas, Madeline R. Sterling, Olay Ajayi, Ethan Mulroy, Elizabeth Kuo, Joy Ming, Nicola Dell, Ariel C. Avgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the unique challenges facing rural home care workers. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken between July 2021 and February 2022 with 23 participants that have experience in rural home care delivery. The major challenge confronting rural home care workers involved distance and transportation. This challenge emerged due to long distance between clients, unreliable vehicles, inadequate reimbursement, and inclement weather. In turn, this challenge exacerbated three other types of challenges facing rural home care workers: workforce challenges that consisted of a persistent labor shortage and shorter visits that forced workers to rush through tasks, client isolation due to the social and physical seclusion of households, and the poor working conditions of home care work more broadly. Without policy interventions that respond to these particular challenges, the care gap in rural areas can be expected to grow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)768-775
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • caregiving
  • home and community based care and services
  • home care
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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