Respite Services

Over the past year there have been numerous changes to the health care system and how we, as providers, do hands-on tasks with our clients. Due to the recent changes a couple things have happened:

1. A provider who has a client that requires hands-on care is required to take a significant amount of additional courses to be educated on what is the right way to provide services such as: bathing, sensitivity to the clients needs, toileting, emergency protocols, etc. For me, taking these additional courses was no issue at all. I took them online and it cost a total of 28$. The material I didn’t find to be helpful because it was mostly geared towards what one would expect to deal with in a nursing home, not so much special needs.

2. I got a raise, yay!

3. For agencies such as Rocky Mountain Human Services and Developmental Pathways, respite positions have become incredibly available. Our families are suppose to be getting more support for the care of their child. The snag right now is that there are approximately 300 positions to be filled…but no one to fill them.

4. Something that has changed since I became and independent contractor with respite services is that independent contractors are experiencing less turn-over rates compared to employees. That’s great for those of us who are already independent contractors; however, the cost for the courses and the insurance and the vehicle inspections has SIGNIFICANTLY risen. We’re talking in the 100+ range. In all honesty, my job doesn’t pay THAT much to make that type of upfront cost worth it.

If independent contracting is the route you would still like to go, I would suggest asking your agency what you needed to do before you begin providing services. Maybe you can finish some of the courses or some of the extra qualifications along the way. For example: before I started working with my first client I need to learn First Aid/CPR, Universal Precautions, HIPPA, and ISSP. After which I could begin working and before the fiscal year was over (June) I needed to complete Medical Administration, Defensive Driving, etc.

5. Now there are still those 300 spots that could be filled if you became an employee of the agency. The only difference with this route would be that you have a boss, a supervisor, more observation time (meaning they come and observe you with your client), and less pay. The agency will pay for the courses and you are representing their company so they cover your trade name and insurances.


Other then that, not much has changed for us contractors. The only real pain is that substantial increase in money upfront for independent contracts.