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How to choose a respite care provider

When you devote so much love and energy to caregiving, it may be difficult to entrust your family member's care to strangers.

Whether you engage a provider directly or work through an agency, you can diminish your fears by conducting some basic research.

independent Respite providers

Taking time to find the right person is essential for your peace of mind and your loved one’s safety. Make sure you:

  • Conduct an in-depth interview with each candidate. Screening applicants on the phone should always be followed with a personal interview.
  • Be specific about all of the tasks, skills, and schedules involved.
  • Discuss compensation and payment schedules. Do not pay for services in advance.
  • Request several work and personal references, and check them carefully. Verify the information provided, and ask all references about reliability, trustworthiness, punctuality, and the care provider's ability to handle stress.
  • If possible, consider a background check.

Always include the potential care recipient in the screening process if he or she is able to participate, to ensure that both parties are comfortable and that your loved one's needs are respected.

Respite agencies

Although independent providers are generally the least expensive, home care agencies and referral services are often easier to use. Here's why:

  • An agency finds and places providers, handles payroll, and usually provides substitutes for sick or absent personnel. If problems occur, you also have specific avenues of recourse (complaints, mediation, or arbitration) that are not available when working with individuals.
  • Referral services work to match your needs with local program options. Search our Colorado respite provider directory to find local programs near you.

Find a Provider Near You

Choosing off-Site programs

When you have identified potential out-of-home respite programs, plan to visit at least three. Observe the staff and how they interact with care participants. Try to picture your loved one there, and check your instincts to see if you’re on the right track.

questions for Respite Agencies:

  • How are care providers screened?
  • What is the training and level of experience of the care providers?
  • Will care providers need additional training to meet specific family needs?
  • How, and by whom, are the care providers supervised?
  • What procedures does the program have for emergencies?
  • Are families limited to a certain number of hours of services?
  • Does the program provide transportation and meals?
  • What is the cost of services? How is payment arranged?

Questions for independent respite providers:

  • Tell us about your education and/or experience as a respite care provider.
  • What are your preferred methods of learning e.g. on-the-job, written or verbal instruction, manual etc.
  • Why are you interested in providing respite care services?
  • Describe your strengths. How would you describe yourself?
  • Why are you the right person for the job?
  • What are your thoughts about families who have children/adults with disabilities or chronic illnesses?
  • What would you do if we disagreed about something? How shall we give each other feedback?
  • If my loved one had to be taken to the hospital for an emergency, what steps would you take?
  • How do you believe difficult behaviors should be managed?
  • What would you do if you found a loved one with an open bottle you suspect is poison?
  • Are you willing to take my loved one out on activities?
  • Describe a difficult problem you’ve had to handle with a loved one.
  • How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about any special training or experience you might have.
  • Would you be comfortable with changing diapers in adolescents or adults?
  • How would you know if my loved one likes a particular food or activity if he cannot speak?
  • Are you willing to have a criminal background check done?
  • Do you have CPR, first aid, and/or medication administration training?
  • Do you have a valid driver’s license?

READ: ABC's of Respite: Consumer Guide for Family Caregivers

Contact Us:


Colorado Respite Coalition
5755 W Alameda Ave
Lakewood, CO 80226

303-233-1666 Phone
303-233-1028 Fax

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