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Should I Call a Homecare Agency or Registry and Why?

Background Check

That’s what Melinda wanted to know. Her mom was having difficulty walking, which made doing normal tasks around the house such as bathing, dressing or even making a light meal a strain on her. Melinda wanted to hire a caregiver to be there for her mom a few hours a day. Friends suggested agencies and registries based on their experiences. Melinda was more confused than ever. Then she heard about Luxe Homecare from a friend who had hired us to care for her father. Her friend was so impressed with the agency and the caregiver that Melinda asked her for our contact information. The next day, Melinda called us asking questions about how we might be able to help her mother.

As a premier, in-home care agency, we receive daily phone calls and emails asking us about our services, which are often recommended by a family friend, neighbor or relative.

Regarding Melinda’s question, “Should I Call a Homecare Agency or Registry and Why?” we’ve compiled some basic information on the differences between homecare agencies and caregiver registries.

Agencies vs. Registries

Registries, which are sometimes referred to as private duty registries, and agencies each serve a purpose depending on how much responsibility and legwork family members want to take on.

To find out how agencies and registries handle the placement process and beyond, we’ve addressed their hiring procedures, background checks, insurance coverage, training/supervision, scheduling, and employment termination.

Hiring Procedures

One of the main differences between homecare agencies and registries is that agencies are employers and registries are not.

  • An agency will perform the same due diligence any other employer would. It recruits, hires and supervises the caregivers on their staff—their employees.
  • Registries are a directory for homecare professionals. They advertise that the caregiver is available for hire, but do little to supervise, train or take other responsibilities beyond that as they are not the employer. Once you hire the caregiver, you become the employer with all the responsibility and liabilities that come with that title.

Background Checks

Background checks are so important nowadays, especially when someone you don’t know comes into your home.

  • Agencies perform detailed background checks on caregivers they hire because they are considered employees, which makes the agency liable for any actions those employees may take in the care of your loved one.
  • Registries also conduct background checks of independent caregivers however, the thoroughness of these investigations can vary from registry to registry.

Insurance Coverage

Insurance coverage of an employee is a huge expense, especially when they are entering someone else’s home and working with a population which can be physically fragile. There is a notable difference between agencies and registries in this category.

  • Agencies cover their employees (caregivers) just as any company in California would. The homecare agency is responsible for taking care of all the payroll and related taxes (state and federal), social security and Medicare, workers compensation, etc. Many agencies also carry general liability insurance and bond their employees.
  • Since caregivers listed on a registry are not employees, the registry will likely not provide insurance coverage for them, making you liable for it.


When you hire someone to help mom or dad out, you want to make sure they are not only qualified, but they have received training and know the protocol in case there is an emergency. It’s also helpful to have an organization behind you that helps supervise that caregiver.

  • Because caregivers are employees of agencies, they receive rigorous training. How they perform in the field has a direct correlation to the company they work for.
  • Independent caregivers who sign up with registries may also be very well trained, however there is no guarantee. The registry’s responsibility both to the caregiver and to the client ends after one has been hired by the other.


As the point of contact for your loved one, the last thing you need is another responsibility related to his or her care. Scheduling can often go awry due to illness, emergencies and other unexpected occurrences. When something goes wrong, wouldn’t it be great to have someone on call who can fix it all for you?

  • Agencies can. As the employer, they take full responsibility for any changes in scheduling and provide a backup caregiver who can take over so that your parent’s care is seamless.
  • Registries cannot. Once you hire a caregiver from a registry, you are responsible as the employer. You have to deal with schedule changes and any backup help needed.

Employment Termination

If there is a problem with the caregiver and you want to replace them, it’s an easy task with an agency, but if you’ve hired a caregiver from a registry, as the employer you must terminate them.

  • As the client, agencies cater to your needs. So if you request a new caregiver due to personality conflicts or other issues, it usually isn’t an issue.
  • Registries don’t do this. Their job is complete once you have hired the caregiver. What happens after that is your problem. That means that you’ll have to fire the caregiver and may be open to lawsuits if you haven’t gone through the proper human resource practices.

There are many examples of why agencies are a safer and less stressful choice than registries. To find out how Luxe Homecare can help your family member live a more secure, independent and happier life, contact us today! We can be reached at (310) 459-3535 or at [email protected]. To find out more about LuxeHomecare visit us at

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