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Understanding Background Checks for Senior Caregivers

How Background Checks Work - Luxe Homecare

First published by the Pacific-Palisadian

Conducting a background check is important to ensure your loved one is in the right hands. You wouldn’t let just anyone into your loved one’s home and this shouldn’t be the case for caregivers and home health aides either. After all, caregivers are tasked with some very important roles: administering medication, monitoring key health markers, and handling emergency situations should they arise. Ensuring you have people that are trustworthy and reliable in these key positions of care is essential. 

Background checking as an individual can often be time-consuming and complicated. State and federal criminal records may not be accessible to you meaning you may only be able to find out so much about the caregiver you’re considering hiring. 

Healthcare agencies are required by law to background check applicants. This can help offer clients peace of mind before hiring the person taking care of a loved one.

What are the Background Check Requirements for Caregivers in California?

From January 2016 onwards, California law requires all Home Care Organizations (HCO’s) to be licensed and all home care aides to be background checked through a live scan. The law is designed to help ensure consumer protection for the elderly and disabled individuals who hire aides in their homes.

Falling under the Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act (HCSCPA) sections 1796.10- 1796.63, the law requires all caregivers (or health care aides as they are referred to in the law) employed by a home care agency to successfully complete a background check through live scan before they can register with the state. It also created a searchable public online registry for caregivers and home care aides who have passed these checks.

Who Manages the Background Checks for Caregivers?

The Home Care Services Bureau (Bureau)  was established by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to work alongside the Caregiver Background Check Bureau (CBCB) to enforce the law. The Bureau is responsible for the home care aide application process and maintaining the Home Care Aide Registry.

What is Involved in a Background Check for Home Caregivers in California?

In no particular order, to be listed on the register the following things must be completed successfully:

  • Submission of fingerprints
  • Declaration of any prior criminal convictions
  • Evidence that the home care aide is of “reputable and responsible character”
  • Disclosure of any prior revocation or disciplinary action against the home care aide applicant
  • A signed statement that they have read and understood the HCSCPA and other rules and regulations enacted under that statute

The California Department of Justice will use fingerprints supplied by the applicant to conduct a background check and identify if the person “has been convicted of a crime, other than a minor traffic infraction” (unless they have an exemption). The DOJ does not release records to an individual family caregiver, only to qualifying organizations. 

What Information is Held on the Home Care Aide Registry?

When the applicant successfully becomes entered into the home care aide registry, the following information becomes searchable:

  • Name
  • Identification number
  • Fingerprints
  • Identity Documentation
  • An indicator that they have submitted a home care aide application

Do Caregivers Require Regular Background Checks?

In California, state agencies also receive automatic notifications of any arrests following registration, a process commonly referred to as “rap back.” Any criminal convictions occurring after the initial background check are then proactively reported to the designated agency or employer. No further fingerprinting is needed after they have begun employment.

Legally, individuals hired directly by patients have the option to apply for listing on the registry/ However, they are not required to do so, meaning they do not require a background check to be hired. Working with a home health care agency means you can be sure that the caregiver you are employing has passed all of these checks before they take on the important responsibility of care.

Home Care Agencies Prioritize & Manage Background Checks

At Luxe Homecare, we take extra care in background-checking our applicants. When hiring a private caregiver instead of an agency-managed caregiver, the burden for accessing and reviewing a potential caregiver’s background falls on the patient and family. Reputable home care agencies take that burden off of your shoulders. All of our staff are background checked and screened as a top priority for your comfort and security, and our home care agency is licensed by California Law.

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