Chapter 4: Before You Start the Job

Authorized Services

Before you can be hired as an In-home Support Services care provider, an IHSS social worker must visit the consumer to determine what services s/he is eligible to receive and how many hours of service are authorized. When the consumer is approved for IHSS, s/he is given a Notice of Action (NOA), a form that describes the tasks and the number of hours of service authorized by In-home Support Services.

Sample of the top section of the Notice of Action Form (NOA):

Ask your employer which services you are being asked to provide and when the services need to be performed. Negotiate a work schedule that works for both the consumer and you.

The In-home Support Services program pays you for work for the In-home Support Services consumer only, not for others living in the home, unless that work has been authorized by In-home Support Services. Other work that the IHSS program will not pay for includes transporting family and friends, pet care (i.e. transporting, feeding, grooming, feces cleanup etc.), painting, car maintenance, manicures, or yard work. Politely decline if asked to do work not authorized.

Approved Services

Domestic Tasks

  • Vacuuming, dusting, and sweeping
  • Damp mopping kitchen and bath
  • Cleaning stove top
  • Cleaning the counter tops in kitchen and bath areas
  • Cleaning the sink, tub, and toilet
  • Making and changing beds
  • General tidying up
  • Washing, folding, and putting away laundry
  • Emptying trash
  • Wiping/cleaning refrigerator

Personal Care

  • Bathing
  • Grooming (shampoo, hair care, shaving, and dental care)
  • Dressing
  • Feeding and assistance with eating
  • Support with toileting
  • Skin care
  • Help changing positions or walking and moving from place to place
  • Bowel and bladder care
  • Care and assistance with prosthesis


  • Shopping and errands
  • Accompany to medical appointments
  • Protective supervision
  • Paramedical services (only if consumer’s doctor sends approval notice to IHSS social worker)

Meal Preparation & Clean Up

  • Grocery shopping
  • Meal preparation
  • Meal clean up

Tasks Not Authorized

  • Mowing the lawn or gardening
  • Pet care, such as washing or walking
  • Cleaning or cooking for other family members
  • Moving furniture
  • Anything else not on the list of approved tasks on the Notice of Action
  • Washing windows

Be prepared to learn how the consumer wants you to do required tasks. You need to be open to new ways of doing familiar tasks as requested by the consumer. The consumer is responsible for hiring you, as well as training you and directing your work. S/he is also the one who would fire you if the job is not a good fit.

Paramedical Services

In-home Support Services regulations require that a health professional order and supervise paramedical services. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not perform a paramedical service unless the consumer’s doctor has taught you how to provide the service, advised you of the risks involved and informed you of what to do in an emergency if something goes wrong. Common paramedical services include:

  • Administering medication or giving injections
  • Urine testing
  • Wound care
  • Catheter care and ostomy irrigation
  • Any treatments requiring sterile procedures
  • Enemas, digital stimulation or the insertion of suppositories
  • Tube feeding
  • Range of motion exercise as treatment
  • Suctioning
  • Placing the consumer in a standing frame

To further clarify your work arrangement with the consumer, it is recommended that you talk to the consumer about:

  • Develop a work agreement by writing down a Task Schedule, which lists agreed-upon tasks, the work schedule and clear instructions for completing tasks.
  • Making a contract between the consumer and yourself.

Developing a Work Agreement

A clear understanding of job duties and work schedule from the beginning can reduce the likelihood of conflict and misunderstanding later. When you put that understanding in writing, you have a Work Agreement or Contract.

List the task and the day of the week, note the time the task needs to be done and add special instructions that apply to that task.

Sample schedule

Household Tasks

  • General Cleaning
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Mopping
  • Empty Trash
  • Meal Preparation
  • Meal Clean-up
  • Ironing/Laundry
  • Making bed
  • Shopping
  • Errands
  • Grocery shopping
  • Sweeping
  • Damp mopping
  • Cleaning
  • Making & changing beds
  • General tidying up
  • Washing, folding laundry
  • Emptying trash

Other Tasks

  • Personal Care
  • Exercise
  • Medicines
  • Respiration
  • Eating/Feeding
  • Ambulating
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Oral hygiene
  • Bowel/bladder
  • Menstrual Care
  • Lift/transfer
  • Rub skin
  • Repositioning
  • Sterile Procedure
  • Wound Care
  • Medically Approved
  • Protective
  • Supervision

Sample Contract

We agree that the following expectations and agreed upon terms will be followed mutually:

  • The care provider will arrive on schedule and the consumer will be there.
  • If the care provider is going to be late or cannot work at a regularly scheduled time, s/he will notify the consumer as soon as possible and, if possible, work out a make-up time.
  • If the consumer must cancel, s/he will notify the care provider as soon as possible and, if possible, work out a make-up time.
  • The care provider will work the agreed upon number of hours/days, and the consumer will not request extra unpaid time.
  • All jobs on the task list will be done well and efficiently completed by the care provider.
  • The consumer will not ask that unreasonable tasks be done or set unreasonably high standards.
  • Both persons will keep confidentiality.
  • Required paperwork and time sheets will be completed and submitted promptly by the person(s) responsible.

Consumer Name, Consumer Signature, Date

Care Provider Name, Care Provider Signature, Date

When You Are Hired

Registry Hires

  • If you are hired by an IHSS consumer referred to you by the Registry, you must notify Registry staff at (707) 565-5700. Follow the procedures to complete and mail the Recipient Designation of Provider form. (See section: “If the IHSS Consumer Agrees to Hire You.”)

Private Hires

If you are hired by an IHSS consumer privately, either you or the consumer must notify Payroll at (707) 565-2852. Be prepared to provide the following:

  • The first and last of the consumer you will work for.
  • Your name, exactly as it is typed on your Social Security Card.
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your mailing address.
  • Your telephone number.
  • Your date of birth.
  • The date you will start your job.
  • Your (familial or other) relationship to the consumer (if any).
  • Date you start(ed) work.

After Notification of Hire

The Payroll Start Line will mail payroll enrollment forms to the care provider.

A W 4 Form will be mailed with the time sheet.

You and the consumer fill out all the enrollment forms completely and accurately, and then send them immediately to Payroll. Until you are enrolled, you cannot be paid by the IHSS program. A delay in returning the enrollment form will cause a delay in receiving your paychecks.

Contact Information

Adult and Aging Division
Human Services Department
Business Hours
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
3725 Westwind Boulevard
First Floor
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.510185, -122.796579