How do I find a professional caregiver?

I can’t do everything on my own. I know I need help. Now what?

Finding a professional caregiver can take a lot of legwork. Do you sign up with a referral agency that sources caregivers for you? Ask around and find someone on your own? Or go with a home care agency like Honor?

Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider your options.

Using a referral agency

Home care referral agencies do not employ health and home care workers. They help you find caregivers near you, then—if it’s a good match, and you hire the person, collect a referral fee. Referral agencies, also called home care registries, are not required to be licensed, though it varies by state.

The level of screening done by referral agencies can also vary dramatically. Some agencies screen thoroughly and conduct background checks, others only verify the identity of the caregiver and nothing more. If you hire a caregiver through a referral agency, it may be up to you to do the screening and background check. This type of agency has no obligation to offer professional liability or workers’ compensation insurance since each caregiver works independently. You’ll want to find out whether there is bonding and liability insurance and you’ll need to provide your own insurance to protect yourself against worker injury on the job.

Since the caregiver is not an employee of the referral agency, they may be your employee, making you responsible for payroll taxes, income tax withholding, paid sick leave and overtime.

Finding an independent caregiver

Many people seek caregivers on their own. They may ask friends for referrals, post job descriptions on neighborhood message boards, or hire someone they know from church or other local groups. While this option is usually less expensive than going through an agency, it requires you to handle many more of the details yourself—something most people looking for care don’t have time for. You’ll need to detail the services you want, determine what you can pay, interview candidates, and run a criminal background check, which is always recommended. If you decide to hire an independent in-home caregiver, you’ll need to determine what taxes you’re liable for, set up a tax withholding system, and also be sure your homeowners insurance has sufficient liability coverage in case the caregiver gets injured on the job. You also may be responsible for paid sick time and overtime.

Using a licensed home care agency or home care organization

In California, agencies that are not referral agencies must be licensed as "Home Care Organizations." These are often referred to as home care agencies. But it’s not always easy to tell if you’re dealing with a referral agency or a licensed home care organization, so be sure to ask. We’ll use the more common term home care agency to refer to licensed home care organizations. Licensed home care agencies are required to provide bonding, professional liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. They are also responsible for all of the employment obligations of their care providers, including payroll taxes and compliance with overtime laws. While all licensed home care agencies are required to conduct a criminal background check of care providers, they are not required to check the driving record or perform a drug test. Be advised that not all background checks are equally comprehensive. So it’s your job to ask for the screening and background check details if you use a home care agency to find your caregivers.

Honor is a licensed home care agency—but we do it differently

We’re modernizing the process of setting up and managing care as well as improving upon communication between families, Care Professionals, and our Care Support Team. And of course, our Care Pros are amazing. We make sure of that.

How is Honor different?

All Honor Care Pros are part of our employee family. We only hire people we trust and would feel 100 percent comfortable caring for our own parents. This means every one of our Care Pros meets our rigorous standards for background checks, experience, and skills—and they love what they do. We always conduct in-person interviews before considering any candidate and provide our own training to supplement the credentials and experience they bring when they join our team. We also review their driving record and perform a drug test in addition to the mandated fingerprint-based background check.

Our high standards and attention to detail go well beyond the screening process of Honor Care Professionals. We provide our Care Pros with on-going training to help the best caregivers be even better.

What makes us different also makes us better.

Compared to traditional home care and referral agencies, there’s really no comparison. Honor is different.

Benefits
Home care agencyReferral agencyPrivate caregiver
Does screening, drug tests, & background checksYesSometimesNot usuallyNo
Offers flexible schedulingYesSometimesNot usuallySometimes
Requires a contract for careNoUsuallyYesSometimes
Handles taxesYesYesYesNo
Provides legal protectionYesSometimesSometimesNo
Delivers back-up careYesSometimesNoNo
Offers two-way communication in real time via appYesNoNoNo
Manages performance problemsYesYesNoNo
Provides fraud protection through our technologyYesNoNoNo
  • Does screening, drug tests, & background checks: Yes
  • Offers flexible scheduling: Yes
  • Requires a contract for care: No
  • Handles taxes: Yes
  • Provides legal protection: Yes
  • Delivers back-up care: Yes
  • Offers two-way communication in real time via app: Yes
  • Manages performance problems: Yes
  • Provides fraud protection through our technology: Yes
Home care agency
  • Does screening, drug tests, & background checks: Sometimes
  • Offers flexible scheduling: Sometimes
  • Requires a contract for care: Usually
  • Handles taxes: Yes
  • Provides legal protection: Sometimes
  • Delivers back-up care: Sometimes
  • Offers two-way communication in real time via app: No
  • Manages performance problems: Yes
  • Provides fraud protection through our technology: No
Referral agency
  • Does screening, drug tests, & background checks: Not usually
  • Offers flexible scheduling: Not usually
  • Requires a contract for care: Yes
  • Handles taxes: Yes
  • Provides legal protection: Sometimes
  • Delivers back-up care: No
  • Offers two-way communication in real time via app: No
  • Manages performance problems: No
  • Provides fraud protection through our technology: No
Private caregiver
  • Does screening, drug tests, & background checks: No
  • Offers flexible scheduling: Sometimes
  • Requires a contract for care: Sometimes
  • Handles taxes: No
  • Provides legal protection: No
  • Delivers back-up care: No
  • Offers two-way communication in real time via app: No
  • Manages performance problems: No
  • Provides fraud protection through our technology: No

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