Middle-aged African-American woman looks at computer while sitting on couch at home

Editor’s note: Home Sweet Home is a feature appearing Mondays in McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. The story focuses on a heartwarming, entertaining or quirky happening affecting the world of home care. If you have a topic that might be worthy of the spotlight in Home Sweet Home, please email Caroline Szachnowski at [email protected].

With a national shortage of home care workers and the large amount of time it often takes to find quality home care providers, consumers in need are often left feeling discouraged. 

One home care company tasked itself with facilitating the search for consumers and those home care providers in need of work. Consumer Directed Choices (CDChoices), a nonprofit organization providing fiscal intermediary payroll and program administration services to seniors and people with disabilities, created a virtual hiring portal. 

“Managing your own home care takes time,” said Hongwei Zhang, director of operations at Consumer Directed Choices, “including searching for, interviewing and hiring a personal assistant. With this portal, we provide our consumers with a more manageable approach to the hiring process so more qualified individuals can apply and fill that gap for consumers.”

How it works

The portal is a database tool specifically designed for consumers, connecting individuals seeking home care services with “personal assistants” or caregivers, Zhang explained. 

Once someone creates a profile, the consumer is able to search for caregivers matching their specific care criteria and using a customizable filter. This can include language preferences, hours of availability and a location radius. Similarly, the personal assistants within the portal are able to search within their own criteria for jobs posted, such as full-time versus part-time positions and sought-after skills. 

Among the most popular benefits of the portal are a comprehensive search feature, messaging feature and translator tools. Portal users are also able to take advantage of a messaging feature, translator tools and saved search criteria.

“The portal is very user-friendly,” Zhang said. “The search criteria can be saved for future use and consumers can also turn on email or text notifications so that the results can automatically be sent to them instead of them having to memorize and go into the portal every time.”

The newest version of the portal received an update on Nov. 1. Lori Rappleyea, a board member of Consumer Directed Choices, is pleased with it. 

“I am very impressed with the new portal and format,” Rappleyea said. “It will be much easier to look for a specific type of qualified person for a personal assistant position.”