Ask Mike - Starting doing private pay respite in my own home

Hi Mike,

I'm an RN with extensive experience with Developmentally Disabled (DD). I'm 54, and getting tired of the rat race of the work world. Also, I don't need as much income now, so can work part time.

I love the DD population and am contemplating an idea and would like your input:

I'd like to start just doing private pay respite in my own home. A day, a weekend, or occasionally longer for caregiver vacations. Just one client at a time.

Having worked with the state & federal programs for years, I really don't wish to deal with the paperwork and rules/regulations, etc.. I want to keep it simple.

I believe my background will support my having a safe environment with excellent attention to each client's individual medical & cognitive needs.

Is this possible, or do I have to go through the state? I would get a business license & some liability insurance, but is there anything else I would need to cause caregivers to feel safe placing their loved one in my care, from a business perspective?

Thank you most kindly.

Private Pay Respite

Dear Private Pay Respite,

Thanks for writing. What a great idea. There is always a need for high quality respite services. Besides wanting to be a very small (one person at a time) respite provider, you also want to avoid paperwork, rules and regulations. You are an RN with extensive background working with people who are developmentally disabled.

When you say "avoid rules and regulations and paperwork and to keep it simple" I take it you mean you do not wish to be involved with any public (Medicaid/Medicare) or private (Blue Cross, Aetna) insurance. They have lots and lots of rules and paperwork and are never simple.

Since you truly have only asked my opinion: I have always felt that there is a private pay market in many parts of the country. The trick will be outreach and marketing. At least make sure and make the rounds of local health care providers, rehab facilities and area developmental disability agencies to see what they think, if they will make referrals and to gauge the market.

Insofar as I can offer business plan ideas, from your letter, I couldn’t tell what your income expectations are. You just say you can work part time. You should be able to get a rough idea as to what you can charge by seeing what the state reimbursement rate is for Medicaid Respite (if available); just typing "respite care rates and costs" into your search engine will produce a lot of results. During my quick glance, it looked like rates were from a low of $12 per hour up to $100.

In the end, starting a new business is risky. You will have to decide how much risk you can afford to take on.

Good luck and write back after you get things going!


Back to Ask Mike Ask Mike a question