Home Care Agencies vs Registries: What Is The Difference Between Them?

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Home Care Agencies vs Registries: What Is The Difference Between Them?

Making the decision to bring in outside help to care for an older family member can be a difficult one. And it can be made even more complicated by having to decide the right method to hire a home healthcare professional. There are two primary methods for hiring: an agency or a registry. But what are the differences and what do you need to know before you start?

An agency is an employer who hires and manages qualified home care professionals. They will ensure that home care is provided by individuals with the proper certifications, licenses, and background. They also provide insurance against risks, pay the caretakers salary and take care of their taxes, and can provide back up in case of an emergency.

On the other hand, a registry acts almost as a clearing house for care givers. Rather than an employee for the placement service, they are independent contractors working directly for you, making you responsible for risks and liabilities. Once the care provider is working for you, there is no management or oversight from the registry.

Let’s take a closer look at the details and differences between the two types of in-home healthcare providers.

Hiring and Training

When an agency provides a healthcare professional to help with your love ones at home, they are responsible for the hiring processes and training procedures. They perform necessary background and reference checks, and ensure that the healthcare provider is bonded and licensed.

They will also be sure that they are matching the specific needs of your loved one to the experience of the healthcare provider they send.

A registry will provide list of individuals available for the job. You are responsible for all pre-employment screening as well as liability. You may not be able to ensure that they have worked with your loved one’s specific needs in the past.

If the caretaker is not a good fit, you would then be responsible for terminating their employment. With an agency, you contact your representative and they provide a replacement.

Supervision on the Job

You need to trust that your loved ones receive the care they require, even when you’re not there to supervise. By hiring someone from a registry, you are taking on the full responsibility as the employer.

The reason for hiring a care provider is to alleviate some of the burden of caring for your loved one. An agency caretaker is accountable to their supervisor, so even while working for your loved one, you can have peace of mind.


Providing care to older adults may not be without risks. Injuries to the caretaker on the job can occur from physical strains to possible falls. It’s important to know what you may be liable for when using a registry.

An agency will protect you and your loved ones. In case of accidents, the caretaker will also be protected through liability insurance that the agency carries for their employees. Whatever happens, you know that there is support available for everyone involved.

Overall Cost

When compared, a registry appears cheaper overall. But there are more costs to consider than the hourly rate. Hiring the wrong person will cost more over time. But working with an agency means more quality, assurance, and processes than a registry can provide.

If you hire someone through a registry who doesn’t work out, you may need to miss work or deal with crisis level events. What is the long-term cost of these issues? They can be avoided with an agency.

At Relative Care, your loved ones are our top priority. Contact us to find out how we can help today.

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