Hiring a caregiver in Orange County. Should you hire directly or through an agency?

By Ellen Busch, September 15, 2012 from Brea, Orange County, California

You know you need help with Mom and Dad.  You’re a great family caregiver but you have kids and a spouse, not to mention a job.  It’s time to hire a professional caregiver.  Hiring one directly can save you some money.  Using an agency, like Nightingale Senior Care, can save you a lot of work by putting professionals in charge of recruiting and managing a caregiver.  Please read the table below to be an informed consumer.

Direct hire Orange County
in-home care agencies
Pros/Cons, comments
Wages $14/hour +/- $20/hour +/- Private hire hourly fees are less, think about total costs.
Social Security Tax, Medicare,… Caregivers pays 15% of her wages to government Nightingale pays half, caregiver pays half, you have no worries. Do this right, the fines are high otherwise.
Workers Compensation, if she is injured at your home Risk of lawsuit, not covered with typical homeowner’s insurance policy. We purchase WC insurance to cover caregiver’s medical care for on-the-job injury. Hurt on the job: If a caregiver is injured on the job the employer is typically responsible.
Recruiting You place an ad on Craig’s list, your phone number and email address on the Internet. We uses a variety of sources to find caregivers and pass them through our website job application and behavioral assessment. Time: Figure a 15 minute conversation with 20 applicants: 5-hours of phone screening.
Interviewing You invite them into your home to meet them. We personally interview caregivers at our Brea office. Personal Safety: Obvious risk of a stranger in your home.
Background check You can buy these services for about $75/person checked. We have a professional business partner that completes criminal and DMV checks in about 24 hours. Crime: You need to know if the caregiver has a criminal history. Don’t skip this step.
Insurance against theft Check your home owner’s policy to see what is covered if your caregiver steals from you. Our screening process is good but if the unthinkable happens we have a bond help cover losses. Theft: Always treat a caregiver as you would any stranger, lock up your valuables.
Drug screening A local clinic can do this for you for about $75/test. We screen and get results in less than an hour.  No cost to our client. Drugs: Does it matter to you that your caregiver has recently used illegal drugs?
DMV record Check it if the caregiver will drive your loved one in their car. We check this for all caregivers permitted to drive a client. Driving Mom: Think about auto insurance coverage.
Auto Insurance Check the caregiver’s Proof of Insurance card. We also purchase additional insurance on all caregivers who drive, extending their coverage. An accident: Be aware if your caregiver has the “minimum” coverage, it can be very low.
Absences Have a family member on call at all times so Mom or Dad are always safe. We have a staff of caregivers and other resources to have a substitute in most cases. Home alone: Caregivers get sick too. Have a back up plan.


Caregiver Quality AssuranceCaregiver Quality Assurance is a great tool to learn if you caregiver candidate has the propensity to do good or do wrong.  It helps us know if they have a “Caregiver mindset”.  It also helps us know if they are likely to be trustworthy.  The criminal background check we talked about above must be done.  But remember, they only have a record if they have already committed a crime and were prosecuted and convicted.

Call us now at 657-217-2273 if you would like to know more.  Follow this link to learn more about Caregiver Quality Assurance.