Hiring a Direct Care Worker FAQs

How Do You Recruit Direct Care Workers, and What are Your Hiring Requirements?


TRPIL Community Services finds most of our attendants by working directly with individuals who need attendants and have a source to pay for those services, such as Medicaid under one of the community based waivers. These individuals often have neighbors, family or friends who could provide regular attendant care but need a wage income to support their own household. When these individuals need more help finding someone, TRPIL hires via walk-in applicants, newspaper advertisement, CareerLink job placement services, and community career expos.


Hiring Requirements

The Department of Health has requirements that direct care workers must meet under Pennsylvania law that we must follow. Applicants must be 18 years of age, a US citizen, possess basic reading and math skills, submit to and pass a Pennsylvania Criminal Background, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance, FBI Clearance (when applicable), regular required health screenings and department required trainings.


See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

Do You Do Criminal Background Checks on Prospective Direct Care Workers? How About Drug Screening?

Yes, the Pennsylvania Criminal Background Check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance and FBI Background Checks (when applicable) are completed on all applicants prior to being hired by TRPIL Community Services.

If the background check results in a finding, there are still ways to qualify a potential worker. Applicants can be determined eligible for employment consideration if that individual can demonstrate rehabilitation by evidence of a minimum five-year aggregate work history in care-dependent services, without incident from either the date of conviction or release from incarceration, whichever is later. Applicants are responsible for providing official verification of such dates. Care-dependent services include healthcare, eldercare, childcare, mental health, mental retardation, or care of the disabled. The court’s ruling in no way prohibits a facility from refusing to employ an individual, even one who has a clean aggregate five-year work history, based on information obtained in a criminal history report. Reference: Older Adults Protective Services Act – Criminal Backgrounds Check Provisions Nixon v. Commonwealth of PA, et al., 2003 LEXIS 2604 (12/30/2003).

Are Direct Care Workers certified in CPR, or do they have any health-related training?

TRPIL Community Services provides 16 hours of training to all newly hired Direct Care Workers and 8 hours of annual training to all active direct care workers. Newly hired direct care workers also receive additional individualized hands on training in the home of individuals receiving services. Although it is not required, TRPIL offers optional Certified American Red Cross CPR/First Aid training to all direct care workers. There is a small fee that Red Cross charges the trainee to receive the certification card that is available upon successful completion.

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

Are the Aides Insured and Bonded through Your Agency??

Direct care worker are bonded and are covered under the agency insurance policy.

What competencies are expected of the aides? Lifting and transfers? Personal care skills (bathing, dressing, toileting)? Training in behavioral management, cognitive support?

Direct care workers are required to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

  • HIPAA and Confidentiality
  • OSHA, Blood borne Pathogen, Basic Infection Control
  • Understanding Department Issued Policies, Procedures, and Agency Quality Management
  • Professionalism
  • Maintaining Consumer Boundaries
  • Consumer Choice and the Independent Living Philosophy
  • Observation, Reporting, and Documentation
  • Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
  • Medical Emergencies and Emergency Preparedness
  • Nutrition and Meal Preparation
  • Assistance with Self-Administered Medication
  • Assisting People with Behavioral Health Issues
  • ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living)/IADL’s (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living)
  • Back Anatomy, Transferring, and Proper Body Mechanics
  • Practical Skills Assessment
  • Assistive Devices and Technology


See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

How do you assess what the attendant is capable of doing?

Direct Care Workers are evaluated by written exams, hands on practical assessment, and consumer evaluation. Remedial training is provided as needed.

See also Training for Direct Care Workers.

What is your policy on providing a substitute direct care worker in the event a regular direct care worker cannot perform the services in your contract?

TRPIL Community Services has a registry of 400 local direct care workers currently working that is used as a reference to find a replacement worker as substitutes. Consumers are encouraged to have an informal network that they can call on in an emergency. In a crisis situation, we will send fully qualified office staff to provide priority care for needs that cannot wait.

If there is dissatisfaction with a particular attendant, can he or she be replaced without cause?

Yes, at any time the individual can request a new direct care worker and the office staff will work with that individual to find a direct care worker that is suitable. We are looking for the right “fit” between the care giver and the consumer of the service. Individual program participants are also asked to help with the annual evaluation of the direct care worker and assists in awarding a merit wage increase.

Does the agency provide a supervisor who is responsible for regularly evaluating the quality of home care?

Yes, TRPIL Community Services program staff evaluates the direct care worker on specific program and agency requirements then the consumer will access the performance of the direct care worker on the day to day tasks provided to them by the direct care worker. One page of the performance evaluation is given to the program consumer to grade the performance of the direct care worker.

TRPIL has contracts with RN’s, physical therapists, and occupational therapists for consultation and supervision, as appropriate.

As part of our Quality Assurance Plan, TRPIL has an Independent Living Specialist that contact’s a random sampling of consumer’s weekly by telephone to conduct a customer satisfaction survey. This survey gathers information about the performance of the office support staff and the direct care worker. The results of the survey and reported quarterly to the Quality Management Team for review of policy, procedures, and staff performance.

Does the supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in person at the home of the consumer?
We use all three types of supervision. The supervision of the direct care worker occurs over the phone, through review of progress reports and documentation by the direct care worker themselves, consumer input through satisfaction surveys, and both announced and unannounced visits at the consumer’s home. Supervision notes problem areas for more training and more onsite supervision.