Hiring a Provider Checklist


Take the hiring of a provider very seriously. Your loved one will be in their care. Their health, safety and well-being depends on you. This checklist and narrative is intended for you to use in locating, interviewing and hiring a personal care provider to meet your needs. It may also be of use in maintaining quality care once you have located a provider.

The Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center provides this list as a convenience to consumers. We do not recommend or endorse any service or company. Consumers should always ask for references and proof of professional licensing.

Before Hiring A Caregiver, Ask Yourself The Following Questions

What assistance do you need with personal care?
  • Bathing or dressing?
  • Mobility assistance?
  • Toileting or personal hygiene?
  • Housework or laundry?
  • Transportation, shopping assistance?
  • Preparing meals or eating?
  • Handling personal business?
  • Using the telephone?
  • Lifting or transferring assistance?
  • Medication reminders?
What are your special health care needs?
  • Assistance with giving medication?
  • Assistance with physical or occupational therapy?
  • Do you have special dietary needs?
Do you have personal habits that may affect an employee? Do you have a concern about an employee's habits?
  • Smoking
    • Does smoke bother you or the employee?
  • Drinking alcohol
    • When and where is it acceptable?
  • Are you tightly scheduled or flexible?
  • Does your home have to be neat as a pin, or just neat enough?

Where to Find an Employee

Most care providers are found among relatives or friends. Churches and hospitals are also good sources for this type of help. A number of facilities have bulletin boards on which ads can be placed.

Some places to try are financial aid offices of colleges and vocational schools, senior citizen centers, senior citizen newspapers, and grocery / variety stores. You may also choose to run an ad in a local newsletter or newspaper.

Wording an Advertisement

Review items you listed about your situation to decide what to include in your ad. Try to specify some areas in which you need help. Be brief and to the point. If certain work days are required, note them. Never put your home address in the ad. Do list a phone number or post-office box. Indicate if you need a live-in provider.


Part time, evening, caregiver needed for stroke pt., some lifting, must have references. Call ___________.

Hiring A Provider

Set up an interview. Arrange to have a friend or relative present at the interview, if possible. Have a well-though-out formal job description written and give a copy to the applicant. Be sure to get the person's name and phone number. Ask for at least two work and two personal references.

Some qualities to look for in a respite care provider:
  • Acceptance and warmth
    • Does the person show a real kindness for all people, including individuals who have special needs?
  • Understanding
    • Does the person recognize that people are in different stages of physical, mental and social development?
    • Does the person respond appropriately to your family member's limitations and strengths?
      • It's a good sign when a potential provider asks questions.
  • Competence
    • Can this person meet the individualized behavioral, feeding, sleeping, toileting and socialization needs of your family member?
  • Patience
    • Can the provider be patient when someone receiving care or a respite situation becomes especially challenging?
  • Fun, humor and spontaneity
    • Does the provider get on the floor and play with your child? Can the provider talk and laugh with an adult who is receiving care?
  • Good judgment
    • Can the person solve problems and make good decisions, in both routine and emergency situations?
    • Can you feel confident the family won't be left with extra problems to take care of after respite care?
  • Stamina
    • Will the person be able to actively provide care and interact for many consecutive hours, and still be alert, enthusiastic and patient?
  • Respect
    • Does the person listen to what you say? Will the person follow your family's rules and expectations?
  • Communication
    • Is the provider able to ask questions and communicate important information to you?
  • Flexibility
    • Can the person use a variety of approaches to meet the special needs of your family member? Is the person willing to shift from previous ways of doing things in order to follow your expectations?
  • Reliability
    • Is the person punctual, consistent and predictable?
  • Confidentiality
    • Will the provider keep personal information about your child and family private?
During the interview:
  • Explain your needs and describe the job as accurately as possible.
  • Can your worker match their schedule to your needs?
  • Ask about worker's past jobs.
  • Try to obtain information about worker's likes, dislikes, habits and abilities.
  • Explain your habits and preferences, and make certain the worker can cater to them.
  • If needed, can the person provide transportation? Do they have car insurance? Ask to see driver's license and proof of insurance.
  • Special training in care giving, CPR and First Aid?
  • When can the person start work, if hired?
  • Set a time when you will notify worker as to whether you will hire them or not.
    • Do not hire them until you have checked the references.
Following the interview, write down your impressions. Trust your instincts. If you have any uneasy feelings about the applicant, do not hire him or her. Gut feelings are important.

You may have to interview several applicants before you find the right person. Do not be discouraged. Take your time. The payoff will be peace of mind when you hire someone you trust.

Check the References Provided

Would prior employers rehire this person? Would the person get along with your family / visitors? If you have any doubts but you think you might like a certain worker, hire the person on a temporary basis (two weeks, for instance).

Notify anyone that you liked but did not hire that you may want to contact them again. Save their names and phone numbers.

When hiring an in-home caregiver, it is essential to check the person's references and criminal history.

To obtain a criminal background check, call the Washington State Patrol at (360) 705-5100. The cost is $10.

For a thorough background check you can contact a private investigative service. There are a number of investigators listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book. (Look under "Investigators"). Expect to pay $15-100 or more, depending on how much you ask the investigator to do. Even when you plan to hire an investigator, be sure to check their own references and license.

Conditions of Employment

Write a letter explaining conditions of employment for your care provider. Include in it:
  • Exact work hours / days
  • Salary and benefits, who pays Social Security taxes and IRS taxes
  • Exact job responsibilities
    • bathing, toileting, diapering, shopping, cleaning, etc.
  • Number of days notice required if/when the person quits
It is helpful to include a calendar with work hours written in and daily responsibilities noted. The care provider can then jot notes on the calendar if there are problems or changes. This calendar can also be used as a time card to keep track of employee's pay.

To maintain a set level of care, have your current provider train your new provider, if possible. Arrange a method of monitoring the worker (a case manager can assist you with this). Arrange for regular conferences with your provider.

Don't let doubts or problems build up. Be assertive but open to suggestions. Be sure your provider knows your doctor's phone number and someone else to contact in a medical emergency.

Other Important Details

If the provider will be living with you, it is advisable to draft an agreement, especially if you live on property administered by the Housing Authority. List which household items belong to whom.

You may want to have the landlord, family or friends assist you with this process. The agreement should indicate what action is to be taken by interested parties, should you and the provider decide to separate.

If you suspect any abuse or neglect toward you:
  • Contact Adult Protective Services at 593-2406
  • Contact Child Protective Services at 1 (866) EndHarm
  • Fire the worker
  • Contact a family member to assist you with this problem
The Pierce County Aging & Disability Resource Center provides this information as a convenience to consumers. We do not recommend or endorse any service or company. Consumers should always ask for references and proof of professional licensing.