Independent or Private In-Home Caregivers



Independent or Private In-Home Caregivers


An independent in-home care provider is typically self-employed and not affiliated with any home care agency or home healthcare agency.  Consequently, most home care providers typically charge lower hourly rates compared to home care agencies which have more administrative costs.  While caregivers working for home care agencies are required to follow the rules of the agency, individual caregivers may be more flexible about meeting the needs of your family.  With an independent caregiver, you may find that there is more flexibility about options for financial remuneration and more flexibility about job description and hours of employment.  On the other hand, your family will need to carefully screen these independent care providers, and you should perform a thorough background check (local, state, and national criminal and financial background check) prior to hiring a home care provider.  With independent home care providers, you will need to consider tax consequences, reporting income, and whether or not any insurance is appropriate.


When hiring an independent home health care provider, consider the following:


  1. What type of past experience does this individual have working as a caregiver and how long has he/she worked as a caregiver?
  2. Perform a criminal and financial background check on any caregiver you are considering hiring.
  3. Have there been any formal complaints against this particular caregiver?
  4. Inquire about whether or not your state requires independent caregivers to be licensed.
  5. If your state requires licensing, you should determine whether or not the prospective caregiver has a current, unrestricted license.  When caregivers are licensed, the state department of health or department of social services usually documents the status of licensees on their website. 
  6. Obtain references and recommendations from current and former clients of the caregiver.
  7. Ask doctors and other healthcare professionals about their own experiences with this particular caregiver.
  8. What type of training does the caregiver participate in to maintain her competency?
  9. Does the caregiver have training in first aid?
  10. Is the caregiver certified in CPR, and is the certification current?
  11. How does the caregiver address client concerns?
  12. How can you or family members communicate with the caregiver?
  13. Does the caregiver have a current and unrestricted driver's license?
  14. Does the caregiver have reliable transportation?
  15. Is the caregiver bonded?
  16. Has the caregiver ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony?
  17. How will the caregiver report state and federal income tax?
  18. How does the caregiver bill clients?
  19. Are any of the care services reimbursed through Medicaid or Medicare? 
  20. Consider whether or not you are eligible for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits to help pay for the cost of home care.
  21. If you have long-term care insurance, are these home care benefits eligible for reimbursement through your insurance plan?
  22. Does the caregiver provide clients with a written plan for care? 
  23. Does the caregiver provide a written "Patient Bill of Rights?"
  24. How does the caregiver handle client healthcare emergencies?
  25. What does the caregiver do if he/she is sick or unable to work?
  26. Does the caregiver require time off and pay for vacation?  Does the caregiver require paid sick days and paid holidays?  How many sick days does the caregiver take?  Which days does the caregiver expect to have off work for holidays?  Who will cover for the caregiver if he/she is off of work for vacation, holidays, or sick days?
  27. Are there any restrictions or limits to the type of services that are provided?
  28. Will the caregiver communicate with family members or friends about the client's needs? 
  29. Should the family appoint a family spokesperson to communicate with the caregiver and to coordinate care?



Good luck with you search for in-home care.  Please let us know if you have any further questions or suggestions.



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