Seniors Health Home & Family Life Style Medical

Does Nana Need a Nurse? Your Guide to Home Care Providers

America is aging. Back in the 1950s, only 8% of the population was over 65. By 2050, that number is expected to reach 22%.

There will not be enough assisted living and nursing homes to accommodate the huge boom of senior citizens in the coming years. Even now, many people are opting for home care providers for their loved ones.

Read on to learn about your options for home health care providers and how to find one.

Types of Home Care Providers

There are various types of home care providers. Some have more experience and training than others. Here is a breakdown of each type of home health care providers that you can consider for your loved one.

Personal Care Assistants

Personal care assistants are the least expensive in-home caregiver available. They are not licensed. Their required level of training can vary by state.

These helpers provide both companionship and help to the client. For example, they will play board games together and read to the client. They will perform light housekeeping and cooking and may run errands and drive the client to do shopping.

Personal care assistants are generally an out-of-pocket expense. Health plans such as Medicaid and Medicare do no cover this cost.

Home Health Aides

Home health aides have some medical training and are trained and certified. The training requirements vary from state to state.

Home health aides can check the patient’s vitals and can help with bathing, grooming and getting dressed. They also serve as companions, do light housekeeping and prepare meals.

They are marginally more expensive to hire than personal care assistants.

Licensed or Certified Nursing Assistants

Both licensed nursing assistants and certified licensed assistants can administer specific medical treatment.

For example, they are able to change dressings, clean a patient’s catheter, take vital signs and monitor infections. They can also help patients work on their range of motion with exercises and can offer walking assistance.

Nursing assistants work under the direction of a registered nurse or nurse practitioner.

Certified nursing assistants can perform various other patient care tasks such as assisting with personal hygiene including changing bed linens and flossing and brushing teeth.

Skilled Nursing Providers

The next step up from nursing assistants is skilled nursing providers. These home care providers must meet certain federal health and safety standards. They get their license from the state.

Skilled nursing providers can provide medical care such as administering IV medication, injections, and tube feedings. They can provide diabetes care and may have physical or occupational therapy training.

Medicare covers skilled nursing care so long as it is part-time and intermittent. This care must be arranged a Medicare-Certified Home Health Agency.

Registered Nurses

A registered nurse (RN) holds a degree in nursing, have taken the state board exam and must be licensed by the state, according to the American Nurses Association.

RNs provide comprehensive medical care. They assist doctors in medical procedures in hospitals and perform a variety of procedures independently.

How To Find a Home Care Provider

Now that you understand the various types of home care providers available, let’s look at the ways you can find a provider.

Home Care Agencies

A home care agency is one of the easiest ways to connect with the type of home care provider you are looking for.


The agency screens the caregivers and conducts a background check on all their employees. The agency has liability insurance so that if a caregiver is hurt in your home, the agency covers the fees.

One of the best things about using an agency is that you can easily get a replacement if your original caregiver doesn’t work out. Or if the level of care needed changes, the agency can swap out the caregiver fairly quickly.

Using an agency gives you a chain of command. If you have a concern, you can speak to a supervisor to have it resolved.

Also, there is no paperwork on your end. The agency deals with payroll, scheduling and taxes.


You will likely pay more if you find a caregiver through an agency. The agency takes a cut and also has to pay the caregiver.

You also have little choice on which caregiver you get. That person may not be a great fit for your family. You don’t get to interview the caregiver before you sign on.

Many agencies do not allow part-time care. In other words, the agency sets the minimum number of hours that you can select.

A registry

You can find local and state-wide employment registries that list available home care providers near you.

You would then contact the individual yourself to arrange an interview.


The great thing about going this route is that you can set the hours you want. You also don’t have to pay a cut to an agency, which will save you money.

When you hire an individual caregiver, you can set the rules that work for you and the caregiver. You aren’t bound to rules set by an agency this way.

Chances are high that you will find a home health caregiver that will be a good fit for your home and family. You can spend time looking for a caregiver that speaks another language or that has the type of personality that will be best for your loved one.


The biggest con to searching for a caregiver through a registry is that it is time-consuming. It can take weeks to screen possible caregivers and do interviews.

You also have to plan for backup coverage such as when your usual caregiver is sick or on vacation. You could be left without care if you don’t have a backup in place.

Using a registry means that it is up to you to verify a caregiver is qualified. You’ll also need to get an Employer Identification number and pay Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.

You will need to buy liability insurance to cover the caregiver working in your home. Or you could be held liable for any injury the caregiver suffers in your home.

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing home care providers for your loved ones. We hope this article has clarified your options so that you can make the best choice for your family.

Next, check out this article for tips to find the best medical transport.

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