Frequently Asked Questions
Finding a great caregiver or caregiver job takes some effort and a little know-how. At CaregiverNeeded.com, we walk you through the process of finding a caregiver or a caregiver job with step-by-step help along the way.
Some of the most common questions we hear from our customers include:
- What kind of care do I need?
- What's the difference between an agency and a private caregiver?
- How much does a caregiver typically cost, and what are my payment options?
- What kinds of credentials should I look for in a caregiver?
- Do I need to run a background check on my caregiver?
- What's the difference between an agency and a private caregiving job?
- How much can I expect to earn as a caregiver?
- I am new to caregiving. Can I get a job even though I don't have much experience?
- What should I say in my caregiving interview?
- I'm considering a live-in caregiver position. What things should I know?
- What kind of services do you offer to help my business grow?
Home care agencies:
What kind of care do I need?
Selecting the best care can be a difficult task. If you have already decided that you or your family member would like to remain at home and will need in-home care, there are many options to consider. We've outlined these options in our step-by-step guide, Selecting the Best Care. In this guide, we have detailed information to help you understand if you need medical or non-medical care, how many hours per week you will need care, whether you should hire a private caregiver or enlist the help of an agency, and how much you can expect to pay for care. Back to top
What's the difference between an agency and a private caregiver?
Whether you hire a private caregiver or an agency caregiver, their qualifications and credentials will be similar. The main differences are in who performs the screening, hiring, managing and payment of the caregiver. Hiring a professional agency can take much of the stress out of these administrative tasks. However, some families choose to hire a private caregiver and take on those tasks themselves because they have the extra time available to do so, or because their budget is extremely limited. For additional information, Compare Agency and Private Caregivers Back to top
How much does a caregiver typically cost, and what are my payment options?
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $8 and $30 per hour for in-home care depending on the skill level of the caregiver, the region of the country you are in, and whether you hire an agency or a private caregiver. See our guide to Selecting the Best Care for a more details on the cost of in-home care. As far as paying for care, insurance options are limited. Medicare will pay for in-home care only if it is directly related to recovery from a specific health problem. Private insurance generally does not cover in-home care. For most people, Long Term Care Insurance or paying out of their own pocket (private pay) are the available payment options. Back to top
What kinds of credentials should I look for in a caregiver?
Caregivers come with a wide range of experiences and credentials, and you should look for the best fit with your situation. Some caregivers have no official credentials, but have a great deal of experience. Others have caregiver credentials focused on primarily non-medical tasks, like helping with bathing, dressing, meals, and housekeeping. These credentials include Personal Care Assistant and the Home Care Assistant (PCA and HCA). Then, there are credentials that include training on light medical assistance such as help with medications and taking basic health care measurements such as temperature and blood pressure. These credentials include Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA), Home Health Aide (HHA), or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). More advanced credentials with additional requirements for education and licensing include the Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN). The most formal credential for giving care is the Registered Nurse (RN) or Medical Doctor (MD) with precise state requirements for education, training and licensing. The more medical help you or your loved one needs, the more appropriate it is to look for credentials focused on medical issues, and experience with similar conditions to you or your loved one. See a summary of caregiver credentials in our Guide to Selecting a Caregiver. Back to top
Do I need to run a background check on my caregiver?
If you use a reputable agency, they will run a background check on your caregiver, and you will not need to do so. You should still always ask the agency if they have background checked their caregivers and what were the results for the caregivers they are presenting to you. For more details on the kinds of questions to ask an agency when screening caregivers, refer to our guide, Hiring an Agency Caregiver. If you are hiring a private caregiver, we recommend that you run a background check and thoroughly check references. In our guide to Hiring a Private Caregiver we recommend some services you can use to run background checks on your caregiver. Back to top
What's the difference between an agency and a private caregiving job?
No matter whether you work for an agency or private family, many of your day-to-day caregiving tasks and activities will be the same. For either type of job, you will want to focus on a good fit with the family, and a schedule and payment arrangement that fits your needs.
Agency jobs can be a very attractive option for caregivers because the agency handles many of the activities related to finding clients such as marketing, interviewing, payment arrangements and customer service. Most agencies also issue caregivers a paycheck, withhold taxes, and issue W-2s at the end of the year. This makes tax-time much more straightforward. In addition, agency jobs can offer greater stability, variety, and the ability to learn from experienced colleagues. Finally, some agencies offer employee benefits such as medical insurance coverage and paid time off.
Private jobs are attractive because you are negotiating "your own deal" directly with your client. Sometimes this leads to slightly higher hourly rates. Most private caregivers work as independent contractors, so their clients are not withholding their taxes. This means you will have to spend more time and attention to paying quarterly taxes, but you also get the opportunity to deduct certain work expenses from your pay.
For more information, Compare Agency vs. Private Caregiving Jobs Back to top
How much can I expect to earn as a caregiver?
Depending on experience, most caregivers make between $8-$20/hour before taxes, even more for highly qualified caregivers with credentials such as a Registered Nurse (RN). Assuming 25% in taxes, most caregivers earn take-home pay of $6-$15/hour. Hourly rates differ based on experience, credentials and geography. Live-in positions may also be negotiated on a per day or per week salary. For more details on caregiver compensation, see the compensation chart in our guide to Selecting the Best Care. Back to top
I am new to caregiving. Can I get a job even though I don't have much experience?
For non-medical tasks such as companionship, help with dressing, preparing meals, errands and housekeeping, many agencies are willing to hire caregivers without direct experience in caregiving as long as they have a track record of performance and responsibility in previous jobs or school work. If you are inexperienced as a caregiver, your other professional and personal references combined with a background check will be a critical part of your resume. Back to top
What should I say in my caregiving interview?
As is true with most interviews, you should be as open and honest about who you are and what kind of position will make you happiest as a caregiver. For some specific tips to successful interviewing, read more about Interviewing with Agencies and Interviewing for Private Caregiver Jobs Back to top
I'm considering a live-in caregiver position. What things should I know?
As a live-in caregiver, the lines between work and personal time can easily become blurred. Live-in jobs share many similarities with being a nanny or live-in child care provider. Some things to consider include:
Work hours. Clearly outline and agree to the hours you are "on-duty" and "off-duty". For clients who need more than 10-12 hours of care per day, you should have an additional caregiver for relief duty. It is also reasonable to expect 2 days per week as "days off" where you are free from your caregiver responsibilities. Finally, be sure to discuss up front what kind of vacation time you expect and whether it will paid or un-paid time off. Each state has employment laws that families who hire private caregivers are subject to. Visit your state labor board to learn more about the requirements in your state.
Pay arrangements. Agree to how often you will be paid and on what day. Agree to which household expenses are included as part of your live-in arrangement: rent, utilities, food, use of a car.
A feedback/communication schedule. As with any living arrangement, you will learn about your client over time, and want to have regular discussions about how the arrangement is going. Decide up-front on a schedule for providing each other feedback on what's working, and what things could be adjusted to make the situation even better.
For more information, see our guide to Success as a Private Caregiver. Back to top
What kind of services do you offer to help my business grow?
At CaregiverNeeded.com, our most important mission is to provide families looking for care and caregivers looking for jobs the tools and resources they need in a simple, straightforward, and step-by-step way. For many families and caregivers, the right choice is a home care agency, and we take great pride in our partnerships with reputable agencies who can provide families with high quality in-home care and caregivers with promising career opportunities.
To fulfill on our mission, we rigorously screen agencies and then connect them to the thousands of visitors to our site each week looking for care or caregiving jobs. We require agencies to be in business for at least 1 year, to have a physical address, and to have a minimum of 5 employees to qualify as an agency partner.Through the 5 years we've been in business, we've also learned a lot about how to find customers who are looking for eldercare services on the Internet. We can give you pointers and help you harness the Internet to help even more families and caregivers who need your services.Call us to become an agency partner, 1-866-99-WE-CARE (999-3227). Back to top
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