How to Select an In-Home Care Provider [Checklist]

Your 1+1 Team
September 23, 2020

In this post, we share six considerations to keep in mind as you seeking in-home care providers for your family.

In previous posts, we shared resources to help you identify the right time to seek in-home care for your aging loved one. Now comes the next step: selecting a qualified, well-matched caregiver to assist your family member. There are many options out there, and we recognize that the selection process can be overwhelming at first. In this post, we share a checklist of six considerations and questions to keep in mind when seeking an in-home care provider for your family member.

Since 2007, our mission has been to make high-quality, affordable care accessible and to provide meaningful impact for the people who need assistance, the families who love them, and the caregivers who perform these critical services. At 1+1 Cares, our goal is to make this process easy and affordable. Referring you to a qualified caregiver is our way to relieve some of your stress and uncertainty.

Now on to the checklist!

1) Identify the Level of Care you Need

An early step in your planning process is to identify the type and level of care you need. You should also know that these needs are likely to change over time. As such, while it’s difficult if not impossible to chart a long-term plan, it is good practice to familiarize yourself with all of your options to help your planning.

Some families will need just a little help, such as routine in-home visits or à la carte concierge services, like at-home salon services, special outings, meal or medication delivery, home cleaning, and pet grooming.

At 1+1 Cares, we make a range of services accessible at affordable rates, including our Basic Service, in which you download our 1+1 Cares App and self-search to find a caregiver. We also offer a Premium Service, in which we do everything for your peace of mind. With Premium Service, a personal advocate facilitates communication, personalizes concierge services, and offers 24/7 support.

Other families may need a bit more help, such as Live-in Care or 24-hour Care. In this “Super Guide”, we outline the differences between Live-in Care and 24-hour Care, be it temporary, long-term, or on an as-needed basis.

2) Understand Your Agency Options (and Avoid Common Pitfalls)

Once you’ve identified the level of care you need, think about where you will find or connect with this caregiver. The best option is to work with an established agency, versus a stand-alone or private caregiver who often lacks even the most basic protections, such as identity verification. But not all agencies are created equal. Some agencies, for example, will charge higher rates for the same qualified caregivers that we refer at 1+1 Cares.

Connecting with a qualified caregiver is not the best time to shop for unqualified bargains. Please be aware of some of the pitfalls out there, including:

  • Private-found caregivers:

    While unvetted, private individuals may offer lower rates, you may sacrifice protections such as background checks and identity verification. Private caregivers may also employ questionable “bait and switch” tactics in which they present and provide an affordable, personable, and quality caregiver for a short period of time (one or two days) but who is quickly replaced by a “cousin” who is less experienced, underqualified, or who may even be ineligible to work in the U.S.

  • Home-care employment agencies:

    Often these companies charge a higher rate for the same qualified caregivers referred by 1+1 Cares. Families can pay vastly different rates for the same caregiver doing the same things. Additionally, the agency is in control of all aspects of selecting and managing caregivers. This means that you lack the control to select and even keep the right person for your family, and the caregiver may be constrained or unsatisfied in how they’re being managed.

  • Newspaper or online directories/listings:

    These directories and referrals have low or no standards for verification and vetting of caregivers. Cost is one thing; finding qualified people to assist your loved one is a lot of work that can not be done with a simple online posting. 1+1 Cares spends countless hours doing the work of qualifying hundreds of potential caregivers so that you don’t have to.

3) Ask a Lot of Questions about Home Care Services and Rates. A Lot!

One of the most common questions we get at 1+1 Cares is: How much will it cost? Keep in mind that there is no single, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. If you’ve been struggling to identify a dollar figure, this is expected and normal. But now that you understand some of the different agency options out there, including private-found or stand-alone options, take the time to reach out to each and ask questions to compare and contrast their services and rates.

We’ve honed a unique model at 1+1 Cares to ensure you get the most affordable rates. Essentially, our model is that you are in control. Our rates are negotiated between you (the client) and the caregiver. This is unlike traditional agencies in which the company sets the rates for you. In general, when you arrange for in-home care with one of the caregivers referred by 1+1 Cares, our costs are typically 30 percent less than traditional in-home care agencies. For example, we offer:

Basic Service, in which you download our 1+1 Cares App and self-search to find a caregiver. Depending on your location, this rate is typically $16 to $21 per hour.
Premium Service, in which we do everything for your peace of mind. Depending on location, this is typically $19 to $26 per hour.

4) Seek Flexible Caregiving Options with No Minimum Hours

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you end up paying for more caregiving services than you actually require. Some agencies will require a minimum number of caregiving hours—this can lead to unnecessary high fees if you find you need less assistance on a given day, week, or month. Because 1+1 Cares is consumer-directed, families and caregivers negotiate the schedule and rates, and there is no minimum number of hours. Keep in mind that shorter hours are typically more expensive. From a caregiver perspective, while it is rewarding to care for someone in need, professional caregivers also need to make their travel and caring worth their time and effort.

1+1 Cares about you. And we care equally about the qualified caregivers we work for. One of the perks of a referral from 1+1 Cares is that we help match you to the ideal caregiver, including preferred languages spoken, personality traits, specific capabilities (like driving), and hours and availability. We ensure that caregivers get the pay and schedule they desire and that they’re matched with the right family. With every family, we compare your needs with the experience and expertise of the caregivers and then empower you to decide the rest.

Remember, we work for you. The result is a well-matched, fruitful, and positive environment for both your loved one and your caregiver.

5) Does the Caregiver Have Liability Insurance?

Another critical question for your checklist is if your caregiver is vetted, qualified, and carries the liability insurance you need to protect yourself and everyone involved in the caregiving process. Not all agencies offer this, especially if you go with a stand-alone or private-found care provider.

1+1 Cares is a referral service for home care assistance, meaning that we screen every interested caregiver and do an end-to-end background check on every candidate. To be included in our referral service, caregivers must have a minimum of two years of experience or one year with CNA/HHA. For further security and protection, we do a criminal background check and also verify:

  • Work eligibility in the U.S.
  • Sufficient liability insurance
  • Current driving insurance
  • Driving record
  • References

We also do face-to-face interviews (or virtual face-to-face, these days) to ensure that every caregiver that’s included in our referral service is a solid partner not just for 1+1 Cares, but for you.

Plan for a Backup Caregiver

Even rockstar caregivers may need some time away. As you search for caregivers, inquire about options for backup or replacement caregivers should your normal person need time away for vacation, illness, or other reasons. We don’t want you to find yourself in a situation where you need to adjust your personal time because you have no coverage for your mom, dad, or grandparent. It’s an avoidable dilemma—if you pick the right agency. Not all agencies or providers will be able to provide a qualified caregiver on short notice.

At 1+1 Cares, we’ve got you covered. Because we have a large and competitive pool of qualified caregivers, you’ll not only connect with the ideal person but you’ll also have options for backup caregivers at your service, should your main caregiver(s) be unavailable.

We hope these six checklist items help you navigate the caregiver selection process. We know that we check the box on every one of these items, but, even if you don’t end up going with 1+1 Cares, we hope that you’ll take these considerations into account with your selection. Following these precautions will help protect you and your aging loved one, and will ensure an ideal match for your family. For more, please reach out today to schedule a call!

1+1 Cares Headquarters
3031 Tisch Way, STE 110PW
San Jose, CA 95128
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(888) 321-4711
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