Guide to becoming an in-home caregiver

Professional Caregiving

11 min read

Herewith Guide to becoming an in-home caregiver

Everything you need to know about in-home caregiving jobs with Herewith

People find the path to professional caregiving in all kinds of ways. Your story could be one of caring for family members, neighbors, or volunteering in your community. For many caregivers, helping others in need is not just what they do, it’s who they are.   

Why choose caregiving?

As you consider becoming a professional caregiver, your options for employment are plentiful, from home health, assisted living, nursing homes, hospice, and in-home care. Which setting you choose is a personal preference, and many caregivers choose in-home care due to its flexibility and the potential for better pay. Your clients choose you, and you choose them, which gives you control you would not get in other care settings. 

Becoming a caregiver with Herewith is easy. There is no need to apply, just get started by creating your free account, clearing our complimentary background check, and then creating a profile on our platform. After that, our Care Experts will help you connect with clients that meet your requirements—all at no cost to you. 

Next, let’s take a closer look at the skills you need, how to protect yourself as a private employee, and design a winning profile to attract your ideal clients.

What are the top skills you need as a caregiver?

Caregiving is a unique and in-demand profession that requires a combination of practical and social-emotional skills. Every client has different needs and preferences, making caregiving exciting and challenging. You may find yourself expanding what you thought you were capable of. As a caregiver with Herewith, you’ll be able provide a range of non-medical support for your older clients. 

Social-emotional skills

Social-emotional skills keep you motivated and focused as a caregiver. You can’t see social-emotional skills, but they are equally as important as hands-on expertise. They help us connect with others and build relationships—the foundation of effective and professional caregiving. 

  • Flexibility- Caregiving situations can shift when your client experiences a change in health or other circumstances. As your client’s needs fluctuate, be ready to adapt and meet those needs. 

  • Empathy- Empathy is the ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and understand their challenges. Older adults receiving in-home care are adapting to their own changing health and care needs, which can cause a range of emotions, such as anger, frustration, depression, or isolation. Showing empathy with these struggles can help your client process their emotions.

  • Listening - Listen, look, and learn. Sometimes your clients may have trouble speaking or may face language barriers. As a caregiver, listening means being open and aware, and actively working to determine what a client feels and needs.

  • Professionalism - While in-home caregivers may not go to the office everyday, your job is every bit as professional as a lawyer or a CEO. Bringing professionalism to your caregiving work means dedication, responsibility, commitment, and integrity.

  • Patience - There will be times when your clients test your patience. They may become agitated, angry, or demanding. Being patient is challenging, but it shows respect, empathy, and understanding even in tough situations. 

  • Optimism - Your attitude is infectious. If you are optimistic, your client is much more likely to reflect that feeling. Optimism means seeing the glass half full—even though there are tough moments, your client still has opportunities for joy, connection with others, and a meaningful life.

  • Responsibility - Responsibility means taking your caregiving role seriously, and holding yourself accountable to your clients while always demonstrating honest and ethical behavior. Showing yourself to be a reliable, responsible caregiver is one of the most desirable qualities that families look for when hiring.

  • Cultural awareness - Cultural awareness empowers you to interact and work with people of different cultural backgrounds without judging them for their beliefs or lifestyles. You, too, have cultural beliefs that guide you. Be aware of how your beliefs and background can affect your interactions with clients and their families. 

Practical skills

At the heart of every caregiver situation is the ability to be empathetic, kind, and caring. Compassion is the foundation of caregiving, but to start your career as an in-home caregiver—or to advance your current career—you will also need to gain hands-on skills. 

Skills training allows you to offer the best and safest care, boost your pay rate, and attract top clients. As a caregiver with Herewith, you have the opportunity to take free classes online from CareAcademy that will support your professional growth and earning potential. 

Here are 8 of the most helpful skills for professional caregivers: 

  1. Communication with older adults

  2. Fall prevention

  3. Dementia & memory care

  4. Assisting with activities of daily living (or, ADLs), such as bathing, eating, dressing, oral hygiene and transfers

  5. How to respond to an emergency

  6. Nutrition and food preparation

  7. Safe toileting and transfers

  8. Companionship

Certifications for in-home caregivers

State laws dictate the tasks and duties an in-home caregiver can perform. Most states only allow in-home caregivers to provide non-medical care, but you may benefit from additional training and certifications. Completing certifications adds specialty knowledge and skills to your caregiving tool belt, so you have a greater understanding of the complexities of medical conditions that often affect older adults and can expand your earning potential.

What kind of caregiver will you become?

Caregivers inhabit every area of healthcare and are more likely to work with aging adults due to the growing numbers of that population. Here are the most common types of caregivers, their work settings, and what makes them different from each other.

In-home non-medical caregivers

In-home non-medical caregivers fill enormous gaps in care for families by providing care in the home (or care facility) setting. Most people’s care needs don’t fall on a specific schedule, and may not conform to the timeline set by home health, hospice, or insurance, so families are left to figure out how to hire or provide non-medical care for their loved ones on their own. 

In-home caregivers, often privately hired by families, can provide much-needed support with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), companionship, help around the home, transportation, and other non-medical support. In-home caregiving is flexible, and as long as the tasks are non-medical, you can assist clients when and where they need it. One of the best things about in-home caregiving? The potential to develop a trusting, close relationship that improves the care recipient’s well-being.

Family caregivers

Unpaid family caregivers provide the vast majority of the care in the United States. In 2020, there were 53 million family caregivers. The challenge for family caregivers is the lack of financial and logistical support. It is not unusual for family members to reduce or quit employment to care for a loved one. Extended periods of care can lead to a strain on relationships and an emotional weight that can take a toll on the caregiver’s mental and physical health. Family caregiver stress and burnout are common for family members caught between caring for aging parents as well as their own young families; hiring a private caregiver can help reduce stress and bring relief. 

Home health caregivers

Home health is a short-term medical service covered by the care recipient’s insurance and ordered by a physician for physical, occupational therapy, and nursing. Home health caregivers are usually Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) who help with bathing, continence care, dressing, etc., and can work in the home or care facility setting. Medicare does not pay for nor authorize home health caregivers to cook, clean, provide transportation, or companionship. 

Hospice caregivers

Hospice, or end-of-life care, relies on certified caregivers to assist in the same ways as home health caregivers. Both home health and hospice caregivers offer time-limited services approved by the care recipient’s insurance. As with home health, caregivers cannot provide companionship, transportation, cooking, or other non-approved tasks. To learn a little bit more about this kind of care, read our article, Understanding hospice care

Nursing home, skilled nursing home, and hospital caregivers

A nursing home is a long-term care setting that provides 24-hour care to sick and disabled individuals. A skilled nursing home is a short-term rehabilitation setting for patients who need rehabilitation following an illness or accident. Caregivers work in both settings to provide bathing, continence care, transfers, assistance with eating, and hygiene. Many caregivers who work in nursing homes are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).

Hospital caregivers are called aides and assist with non-medical duties like cleaning, serving meals and assisting with eating, occasionally stocking supplies, helping to the bathroom, bathing and documentation. Requirements to work in a hospital vary according to each state. 

How to set your pay rate as an in-home caregiver

As a private in-home caregiver, you have the flexibility and control of working directly for your clients and setting your own rates. Your pay rate is up to you, but there are a few important factors to help you set a pay rate that’s competitive, yet still falls within the range of money you’d like to make. Take some time to research what other in-home caregivers with similar skills to you charge per hour in your city or area. On the Herewith platform, we recommend setting a range, including the lowest you’d consider accepting and the high end of what you’d expect to make with your skills. 

If you need a little help figuring out what you should charge, our team can help you figure out what works for you. Give us a call at 510-284-5230 to get the professional support you need. 

Your professional profile

To find caregiving clients with Herewith, the first step is to complete a free background check (this does not affect your credit report) before creating your profile on our platform. After completing this easy check, you’ll receive a badge on your profile and will be ready to start personalizing your profile. So, what exactly goes into your profile?

Your profile is basically your resume and a friendly intro all in one. The info you share in your profile, such as your pay rate, availability, schedule preferences, distance you want to travel, and caregiving skills, help us match you with clients that meet your needs, so you don’t have to spend endless hours searching job boards or working with an agency that might take a cut of your pay. You can either fill your profile out yourself on our mobile app or over the phone with one of our Care Experts.

Your profile is how new clients get to meet you, so it’s important to put your best foot forward by showcasing your skills, certificates, personality, and experience.  Most care platforms allow you to upload a picture of yourself, but at Herewith we’re excited to give you the opportunity to introduce yourself to potential clients with a short selfie video, so potential clients can get to know you a little bit before they ask you to interview. Nervous about recording a video? Take a look at our easy profile video tutorial

Protect yourself as a private caregiver

While private, in-home caregiving offers great flexibility and control over your career, it’s important to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk by working under the table or going without liability insurance. Taking care of others shouldn’t mean going without professional protection, reliable paychecks, and automatic time-tracking. 

As a caregiver on the Herewith platform, you will be working directly for your clients. That means your client is your employer and pays you every week. With Herewith, you also have access to great, free protection, including a generous liability insurance policy with coverage of up to $1 million, workers’ compensation (which we provide to your employer), and support from our team whenever you have a question or concern.

What is liability insurance?

Liability insurance protects you if you were to be sued by your employer. It covers attorney’s fees and court costs. You may wonder why an employer would sue you—examples include allegations of harassment or dereliction of duty, damage to property, etc. Liability insurance protects you against claims resulting from an unintended oversight or accident and protects your loss of earnings due to any lawsuit.

As a caregiver on Herewith, you're eligible for FREE liability insurance. That means protection with $1 million worth of coverage when you are working with your Herewith clients. (Please note: this insurance only covers clients on the Herewith platform. Some restrictions may apply.) Your coverage starts when you get hired. If you’re in between clients, you’ll have a 60-day grace period before your coverage lapses. But, not to worry—your coverage can be restarted the next time you get hired. Have questions? Check out our FAQ page for caregivers

What is workers’ compensation?

Since your client is your employer, they are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to protect you.

  • You may become injured or become disabled as a result of your caregiving job. If you need to take time off and or receive medical care, worker's compensation pays for lost wages and care. 

  • Remember that workers’ comp is not the same as unemployment benefits or disability insurance. If you need unemployment benefits, you would have to apply for those. Disability insurance is a separate insurance you can purchase to protect you if you should incur an injury that results in a long-term disability.

How caregivers get paid with Herewith

You deserve a reliable paycheck. At Herewith you work directly for your client (your employer), and get paid by them. We help by removing the stress of submitting your hours with a handy automatic time tracking tool on our mobile app, so you can check in and out of your shifts and easily, edit any mistakes, and receive your check via our automatic payroll system. 

As a household employee of your client, you’re considered a W-2 employee, giving you important legal protections, such as minimum wage and overtime. If you were paid as a 1099 contracted employee (not a W2 employee), you would be responsible for paying your own quarterly taxes and wouldn’t have any protections. Learn more about W-2s and household employees. 

Tips for caregivers

In-home caregiving can be a rewarding career, and we’re so excited to help ensure your success. We’ve put together a few of our top tips to help you on your path:

  • Take full advantage of Herewith’s Care Experts. We are here to ensure your success and job satisfaction. We are part of your team!

  • Think carefully about the schedule that suits your lifestyle. You control when and how many hours you want to work.  

  • If you have the time, take a free online class from CareAcademy and grow your skill set. 

  • Make a profile video highlighting your skills and what makes you a great caregiver.

In-home caregiving and you

There are few more satisfying things than helping others—you shouldn’t have to worry about financial risk or feel unsupported as a caregiver. At Herewith, we believe it’s our job to support you and provide the protections, tools, and opportunities you need to thrive in your care career. 

Give us a call at 510-284-5230 to learn more about caregiving with Herewith. 

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