How to Start a Healthcare Sitter Service Business

by Maryann DePietro ; Updated September 26, 2017

Healthcare sitters are hired by individuals, hospitals and rehabilitation centers to ensure the safety of people with medical problems, such as patients who have suffered a stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Sitters do not have to be licensed medical professionals. However, they do have to be dependable, compassionate, trustworthy and have knowledge about the type of conditions their patients have. As the population ages, the demand for healthcare sitters may grow.

Step 1

Learn about the various causes of dementia. Patients who need healthcare sitters often tend to have medical conditions that cause disorientation, agitation, memory loss, poor judgment and problems with language. Understanding symptoms and what to expect is essential for a healthcare sitter.

Step 2

Become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It’s important a sitter knows what to do in an emergency. If your healthcare sitter service involves hiring other sitters, make it mandatory that your employees are certified in CPR also.

Step 3

Consider becoming a certified nurse's aid. Although a license is not required for sitters, potential clients may feel more confident hiring a sitter who has some medical training. Nurse's aid classes can be found at local community colleges. Most classes can be completed in one semester or less.

Step 4

Develop a written contract for clients that outlines duties. Family members will usually be the ones hiring a healthcare sitter. Most sitters do not perform medical procedures, such as taking vital signs. Decide what duties your healthcare sitter business will include, such as feeding and assistance in the bathroom. Clearly discuss responsibilities upfront so clients understand your boundaries.

Step 5

Contact local hospitals and rehabilitation centers to determine if they hire healthcare sitters. Some hospitals employ sitters to work overnight with certain patients. Staff members are often busy providing medical care to patients and may not have the time to handle a patient who is confused and may try to wander out of the room.

Step 6

Mail brochures and business cards to doctors' offices and senior centers to market your services and gain private clients. Be sure to interview clients first to determine if a job is a good fit. Consider the home environment, expectations and client needs before accepting an assignment.

Tips

  • Keep a list of references available for clients. Potential clients may want to check with people you sat for in the past to be sure you are qualified.

    Set hourly rates based on the distance you are traveling to a home and the condition of the patient. Some patients are more demanding than others and will be harder to deal with.

About the Author

MaryAnn DePietro has been a professional journalist since 2000, specializing in health, fitness and medical articles. She is also a certified respiratory therapist. Her work has appeared on websites such as eHow and ModernMom and in publications including the “Sacramento Bee, “Press Tribune“ and “Succeed.” DePietro holds a Bachelor of Science in rehabilitation from Penn State University and a degree in respiratory therapy.