What Is a Home Care Agency and How Does It Compare With Hiring a Private Caregiver?

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Families searching for home health services for their aging loved ones usually have questions regarding their options. If you and your family are getting stuck on questions like these:

  • How do you find a caregiver?
  • What is a home care agency?
  • How does it compare with hiring a private caregiver? 
  • What services does each provide? 

Then you are in the right place.

When it comes to something as important as personal care, it’s essential to fully understand all of the options before making a significant decision like this one.

Read on to find the key differences between home care agencies and private caregivers and their benefits.

What Is Home Care and Why Do We Need It?

The most common personal care service type is “home care.” 

Home care can range depending on an individual’s needs and wishes. Home care is comprised of various supportive personal care services. These services are provided by a professional caregiver in the individual’s home, as opposed to care services provided in group accommodations, nursing homes, or facilities.

Home care is typically “non-medical care” provided by professional caregivers who are background-checked and trained as care aides, nursing aides, or personal support workers. Home care services are available hourly, daily, or live-in, depending on the client’s needs.

Home care services are needed, especially when individuals have difficulty taking care of themselves independently. 

There can be many signs that home care is required, including but not limited to the following:

  • Difficulty transferring
  • Preparing meals is complicated or requires frequent assistance
  • Difficulty with toileting and bathing
  • Having trouble getting dressed
  • Forgetting nutritional needs and medications
  • Problem with maintaining personal hygiene and housekeeping

Common Types of Home Care Services

Home care providers offer a wide range of personal care and supportive care geared toward each senior’s unique needs and preferences. Home care aides can:

  • Assist with non-medical care, including daily living and daily activities
  • Perform regular wellness checks, including checking vital signs and physical and mental health
  • Transport seniors to medical appointments, errands, and community events
  • Assist with grocery shopping and meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping, including cleaning and laundry
  • Assist with pet care
  • Assist with wound care
  • Assist with self-care, including bathing, toileting, dressing, etc.
  • Accompany clients on walks in the neighborhood
  • Provide companionship

What Is a Home Care Agency?

Home health care agencies provide high-quality professional home care and personal-skilled care in the comfort of your home. Nurse Next Door is considered a home healthcare agency that provides bonded, licensed, and insured caregivers. 

Learn about our senior home care here!

Setting up your home health care plan can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. At Nurse Next Door, we do everything possible to simplify the process.

Connect with one of our agents, who will be happy to help you create the best homecare plan for you or your loved one.

What Is a Private Caregiver?

On the other hand, a private caregiver offers personal care services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and companionship.

Private caregivers are often hired privately by families and can be considered “non-certified aides.”

The Benefits of Hiring a Home Health Agency vs. Private Caregiver

Home health care agencies hire professional caregivers and nurses who undergo thorough background checks. These background checks will ensure you or your loved one receives the best possible home care.

When hiring home health caregivers privately, you may need to check references and credentials and conduct background checks on your own. There may be better solutions than private caregivers for your needs.

Nurse Next Door Caregiver providing care to a client.

Here are some reasons why hiring a healthcare agency has its perks!

  1. Teamwork
  2. Flexibility
  3. Customization


When you work with a home care agency, you have a team of professionals looking after your loved ones. At Nurse Next Door, we believe in continuity of care, which we take very seriously! 

To ensure your loved one receives consistent quality care and the attention they deserve, we make every effort to send the same caregivers for each visit.

Elsa* is 71 years old and discharged from the hospital after a fall and chronic health issues. Though the fall was not as severe as her chronic health issues, Elsa’s family still wanted to ensure their mom was safe in her home and received home health care. Unfortunately, Elsa’s children could not be their mother’s primary caregiver and sought home care assistance.

They chose Nurse Next Door for several reasons. For starters, the Care Services Center (the customer service call center) was available for the family to call for information 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Secondly, Elsa had a team of people helping her. Her team included the Care Services Specialists, the Care Designer (care manager), and caregivers. 

They all worked together to bring the best care to Elsa. It gave her family peace of mind and the non-medical assistance and home health care safety Elsa needed.


When working with a home care agency, flexibility is a top priority. When hiring a private caregiver, on the other hand, flexibility may not be available.

Robert* asked his daughter to assist him with finding home care services after realizing his daily tasks were no longer as simple as they once were. Although Robert needed a caregiver to come in twice a week to help him with light housekeeping and tasks, the problem was Robert’s changing schedule.

The family knew it would be challenging to find a caregiver available twice weekly at varying times and days.

Many home care agencies, including Nurse Next Door, can offer flexibility to clients by scheduling regular caregivers who can meet varied shift times. If a caregiver or nurse calls in sick, we’ll send an equally dedicated and caring replacement.

If hiring privately, there’s the downside of potentially finding yourself without care if someone calls in sick.


Joannie* was very skeptical about who she allowed in her home. Although her son wanted to get her extra support and non-medical care, Joannie was very resistant to accepting help with daily living.

Caregiver with client at the park.

Numerous private caregivers were qualified to take on the tasks at hand, but no one seemed to put Joannie’s concerns to rest. It was when the family invited a Nurse Next Door care designer to meet Joannie. Nurse Next Door Care Designers ask a series of questions covering medical needs and personal information about a client’s needs, wishes, and concerns—including questions related to Happier Aging™

From there, Nurse Next Door provides skilled nursing and the highest quality care while helping seniors continue to do what they love. So when Joannie met her caregiver Beth* the connection was perfect!

Beth and Joannie shared a love for performing arts and theatre, understood the importance of tea time, and also lived in the same part of Ireland at one time in their lives. It was as if Joannie had met her new best friend. Now, three years later, Joannie and Beth still spend time together.

It was all due to the Perfect Match matching engine that Nurse Next Door uses to create a successful pairing between client and caregiver.

So many private caregivers do a fantastic job, but their resources are limited to no fault of their own. When individuals hire organizations like Nurse Next Door, processes, policies, and systems are already in place. We have an entire team dedicated to bringing the best care to clients and their families.

At Nurse Next Door, we genuinely believe that aging is something to be celebrated. 

Our philosophy of Happier Aging™ is to reconnect seniors with their interests, hobbies, and passions while providing exemplary care. 

When you book a FREE Caring Consult, one of our Care Designers will work with you to identify your health needs and concerns. They will ask a series of questions to help determine daily living activities that will bring you or your loved one long-term happiness. 

Once that is all said and done, a perfectly matched caregiver is assigned to provide home health care services according to your needs and desires. 

Get Started with Nurse Next Door and visit our senior home care services here!

“Nurse next door Caregivers are very helpful and caring, very easy to schedule visits, and they send the same caregiver which is great” – A. Lee

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