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A Modern Way to Find Your Caregiver

July 14, 2016

Odds are you know someone who has dipped their toe into the online dating world. Many laugh, but some great relationships were born on e-harmony and other websites of that ilk. Sherwin Sheik decided to use this concept to help the ill and elderly find a caregiver.

Sheik knows firsthand about the importance of finding the best possible care, as his sister has multiple sclerosis and uncle had ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He also watched as his aunt and uncle spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on home health care providers. Some of the caregivers they hired stole or never showed up when scheduled. The ones that did great work would still quit, because they weren’t making enough money for a living.

“We just didn’t know how to accurately screen caregivers, or run background checks,” says Sheik, 38. “I decided I could use my experience as an investor in health care and interest in technology to find a solution to the problem.”

His site, carelinx.com, is based outside San Francisco. It operates much like e-harmony, a useful tool for families and over 150,000 professional caregivers, ranging from certified nurse assistants all the way up to registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

The conventional ways to find a caregiver are through the classifieds, word of mouth, or an agency. An agency, which tends to have a large overhead, can be very costly. People often find out about traditional home care agencies the hard way, Sheik says, adding, “About six months into it, they realize ‘I’m blowing through $5,000 or $6,000 a month, and I can’t afford this.’”

Sheik’s CareLinx gives each family an adviser to guide it through the hiring process and for follow up. The firm vets caregivers, does background checks, manages the payroll and taxes, and insures and bonds for each caregiver up to $4 million. It also helps families monitor daily care via its mobile technology platform. So if they live a long distance away or work full-time, they receive real-time updates on the care of their loved one.

Visitors to the site search the caregiver listings for such characteristics as work experience, foreign language needs, services offered, price, and overnight availability. Once there’s a match, CareLinx runs a comprehensive background exam. This delves into national, multi-state, and multi-county criminal records, and also covers Social Security number verification and driving record checks. Clients negotiate wages directly with hires.

For a low service fee of 15%, which the clients pays on top of the caregivers’ wages, the CareLinx platform manages all the administrative tasks, such as scheduling, time tracking, care coordination and payroll processing.