A Complete Guide to Caregiver Background Checks

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What Is a Caregiver Background Check?

Healthcare is a demanding industry that is always changing. Employers are in a particularly precarious position to comply with laws, regulations, and industry standards in the hiring process.  This is when obtaining a caregiver background check for pre-hires can be invaluable. 

A caregiver background check helps healthcare employers validate work history and education. Additionally, a background check for caregivers is essential in determining whether or not the candidate for a healthcare position is qualified, trustworthy, and ideal for the job.

Why Are Background Checks Important for Caregivers?

In an ideal world, healthcare workers answer a higher calling and tend to patient care with integrity and compassion.  Regrettably, we don’t live in a perfect world.  In reality, not every caregiver has their patient’s or their employer’s best interests at heart.  

For instance, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2 out of 3 caregivers were reprimanded for some type of elder abuse in nursing homes.  Problems such as patient neglect, theft, abuse, or incompetence don’t just happen in eldercare facilities – it happens in every organization caregivers are hired.

For this reason, a caregiver background check is crucial to conduct on your pre-hire candidates.  A thorough background check ensures employers that the candidate says who she or he says they are.  Furthermore, it can confirm or deny aspects that might directly influence a candidate’s ability to perform.  In essence, caregiver background checks are employers’ greatest tool to make the best choice for their job openings.

How to Do a Background Check on a Caregiver?

You could use a DIY approach to conducting a caregiver background check. However, this can be extremely time-consuming.  Between gathering all the information, contacting references and previous employers, as well as contacting local, state and national government agencies for a criminal background check for caregivers – you’re looking at days or maybe weeks to receive all the results you need.  

Furthermore, a do-it-yourself approach could get you into trouble if you do not comply with pre-hiring laws and regulations according to your state.  For example, a caregiver background check in Wisconsin works rather differently than a healthcare background check in California.  

With this in mind, your best, most reliable option is to use PreSearch for your caregiver background check needs.  We deliver the most thorough, accurate, fast background checks available.  Furthermore, according to your state, we conduct all of our pre-hire checks to the letter of the law.

To do a background check with PreSearch, you simply need to collect the information from the candidate by having them fill out an application. The information included on the application should include information such as full name, address, social security number, and birthdate.  In some instances, you may also need to collect the candidate’s driver’s license number as well as information on any professional certifications, licenses or degrees the candidate claims to have earned.

Also, keep in mind that by getting help with background check services using PreSearch means that everything will be conducted in full compliance.  For instance, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) has legal requirements such as providing formal disclosure documents to the applicant that they are subject to a background check.  As mentioned, different states in the US have different regulations when conducting caregiver background checks. With PreSearch, you never have to worry about background checks and staying compliant with the laws in your state.

What Shows up on a Caregiver Background Check?

More comprehensive than standard checks, a background check for caregivers is intended to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals. Here’s what typically shows up:

  • Criminal History: This includes felonies, misdemeanors, and pending charges.
  • Identity Verification: Confirms the individual’s name, address, and Social Security number.
  • Sex Offender Registry: Checks against national and state sex offender registries.
  • Abuse Registries: Searches for records of child or elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • Driving Records: This may be included, especially for positions involving transportation.
  • Professional Licenses and Certifications: Verifies relevant licenses or certifications.
  • Employment History: May include verification of previous healthcare positions.

How Long Does a Caregiver Background Check Take?

The turnaround time for a caregiver background check depends on factors like the type of check, state regulations, and the accuracy of the information provided. Typically, you can expect results within a short turnaround time and even on the same day in some cases.

What Is the Difference Between a Caregiver Background Check and a Regular One?

One of the key differences between a caregiver background check and regular background checks is they are more in-depth due to the nature of work. Other key differences include:

  • Specialized Searches: Caregiver checks often include abuse registries, healthcare sanctions lists, and license verifications that may not be in standard checks.
  • Legal Requirements: Some states mandate specific components for healthcare worker background checks.
  • Protecting Vulnerable Populations: Caregivers work with vulnerable individuals; hence thorough checks ensure their safety.

How Much Does a Caregiver Check Cost?

The cost of a caregiver background check depends on the level of detail your organization needs. Our basic checks start around $18-$30, while more comprehensive checks can go up in price. We also offer additional screen options, which could impact the cost.  For specific pricing and package options, check our pricing page.

Please visit our service page for a full list of our offerings

What Disqualifies You From Being a Caregiver?

Whether you need a background check for home health care, or you’re employing caregivers for a healthcare facility, there are certain conditions in which an individual is automatically disqualified from being hired as a caregiver. 

In almost all cases, if the criminal report turns up certain “red flags” such as violent crimes committed, sexual assault, or robbery – the applicant is immediately ineligible for caregiver employment. In some instances, and depending upon the job functions performed by the caregiver-candidate, minor convictions or minor traffic violations may also disqualify an applicant.  

If you have a care worker candidate who must drive in order to complete job functions or patient care, then a history of careless driving, driving while under the influence or repeated offenses on their driving record may also be grounds for withholding employment. 

In some cases, employers may also consult an applicant’s credit history. If instances of foreclosures, bankruptcies or financial judgments are present, this could be cause for disqualification of employment.

State and Federal Background Check Laws for Caregivers

If healthcare agencies want the support and financial backing from federal government programs such as Medicaid or Medicare, then they must conduct caregiver or home health care background checks according to their state laws.  

As of 2010, the Affordable Care Act enacted the National Background Check Program (NBCP). This program issues financial grants to states who comply with a standardized system for initiating comprehensive caregiver background checks. This includes obtaining fingerprint-based background checks on caregivers or healthcare aids that will have direct contact with patients. This federal funding is optional, and not all states are required to comply.

Every state has different requirements and standards for caregiver background checks. In many instances, healthcare workers should be licensed by the state, and this should be confirmed by the hiring employer.  Depending upon which state you are hiring, caregivers may need to undergo a state-level search to verify the current status of licensing.

What Kind of Background Check Should You Consider?

At PreSearch, we have a wide array of different types of checks we can provide for your caregiver’s pre-hire needs.  Here are a few examples of what types of background checks you should consider for pre-hires.

Statewide Criminal History Check

Most states will provide state-level criminal history checks. However, some do not.  The ones that do will deliver details about potential criminal activities present on a candidate’s record in the employing state.

County Level Criminal Check

It’s advised to check the county records in which the applicant resides. Doing so will provide you with felony, and criminal information.  Some counties in some states may also include infractions or misdemeanor charges.

Verification of Name, Social Security Number 

This is perhaps the most basic, yet most necessary aspect of any background check.  Verifying name and social security is crucial for confirming the candidate is who he or she claims to be.

Drug Screening

Many healthcare employers around the nation opt to subject candidates to drug testing as a condition of employment.  If screened positive for drugs, the candidate may potentially prove to be a danger to patients. Please know that according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, pre-hire drug screening may only take place after making a job offer to the candidate, and granting the position is contingent upon taking and passing the drug screen test.

National Sex Offender Registry

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 10 seniors are victims of assault or sexual abuse at the hands of a caregiver. In light of this sobering fact, it is strongly encouraged that a search on the National Sex Offender Registry should take place for all pre-hire caregiver-candidates. 

Personal and Professional References

This aspect of the pre-hire process can be quite revealing about a candidate’s personal and professional history.  An employer’s responses while contacting personal and professional references can be insightful as to how the candidate has held him or herself in past employment positions, in the community and in personal relationships.

Verification of Employment & Education

This is a basic, yet another essential factor in any caregiver background check. The results of this report will confirm whether or not the candidate has indeed worked and studied according to what is claimed on the application.

What Other Types of Home Health Care Workers Need Background Checks?

The different types of medical or healthcare staff you need to hire will adjust what kind of background checks you will conduct.  Here are a few types of healthcare professionals and their functions so you can tailor your caregiver background check needs. 


Hiring a physician may be required if patients need full-time care in-home, or in a healthcare facility.  Doctors should be subject to the basic background check requirements, and other checks can be pursued according to the employer’s needs and the doctor’s job description. For instance, a motor vehicle check might not be required for an in-home physician candidate.

Speech, Occupational & Speech Therapists

Whether you are hiring professionals for eldercare, or healthcare professionals to assist patients recover after surgery or trauma – basic background checks are required for these roles.  Furthermore, a check should be conducted on candidates in these positions to confirm he or she is state licensed and has earned the credentials to perform job functions.

Nutritional Support

Dietitians and nutritionists are often needed to provide patients with proper nutrition in order to maintain health, or recover after a medical procedure or illness.  This position should undergo a basic caregiver background check, and additional history searches should be conducted depending upon the job description and type of patient interaction required for the position.


It is a mistake to believe that volunteers are not subject to background checks simply because they are not being paid for their services.  In fact, volunteers should undergo background checks as much as paid employees. 

In all cases and job positions, background checks are integral to hiring trustworthy, reliable and qualified healthcare workers or volunteers.

How PreSearch Can Help You

After reviewing all this information about the ins and outs of conducting a caregiver background check, you might be a bit overwhelmed.  That’s why PreSearch is your perfect ally in your pre-hire process.  We take all the guesswork out of background checks so you are free to make the best choice for your organization.  

Furthermore, we give you peace of mind because we deliver accurate, current, thorough results you need to hire the most ideal candidate.  Moreover, we ensure that background checks are conducted to the letter of the law of your state, as well as fully compliant with federal laws.  Considering this, PreSearch gives you every advantage you need to hire the most qualified staff so your healthcare business can thrive.

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