Families who are in the midst of searching for home care services for an aging loved one are faced with the daunting task of choosing between a home care agency and a home care registry. Both are viable means to obtain elder care, but they vastly differ in approach.
Several factors distinguish a home care agency from a home care registry. The most significant difference is that the former employs a team of caregivers, while the latter is strictly a referral source that does not hire the caregivers they refer. The following are additional variances:
1. Differences in Credentials: Licensed, Bonded & Insured vs. None
A home care agency is typically licensed, bonded and insured. Licensure indicates the agency has met safety and health regulations in accordance with the state. Government oversight protects those who use the agency’s services. In most states, licenses must be renewed annually.
A home care agency that is bonded means the care recipient is protected from losses and theft. Home care agencies that are bonded have conducted thorough background checks on their caregivers. This peace of mind is crucial to families who allow caregivers to tend to a vulnerable loved one.
Being insured means the home care agency covers a variety of mishaps. Transportation, for instance, is a typical service offered by home care agencies. The agency will require caregivers to possess a valid driver’s license and to drive care recipients in a company-owned vehicle.
Home care registries, however, are not required by law to be licensed, bonded and insured. The caregivers listed in the registry are unlikely to have undergone a thorough background check. Plus, registries do not carry insurance, such as for malpractice claims or worker’s compensation.
Caring for an aging person often requires physical lifting, which could injure a caregiver’s back or lead to a sprain. If a caregiver from a registry is injured while on the job at a care recipient’s home, the family could be responsible for the resulting medical bills and disability.
Unscrupulous caregivers are a reality and hiring a caregiver from a home care registry has the chance of leading to unpleasant scenarios. If the caregiver steals or makes unauthorized charges to the senior’s credit card, families must independently work with law enforcement.
2. Differences in Training: Trained vs. Possibly Untrained
The professional capabilities a caregiver possesses make a substantial difference in the quality of senior care. A home care agency trains the professionals on their staff. Dementia care providers, for example, understand how to approach and soothe an agitated senior with Alzheimer’s disease.
A caregiver from a home care registry may or may not possess the desired skills. The care recipient will have to be patient as the professional undergoes a possibly steep learning curve. Plus, the home care registry does not provide ongoing education to its listed professionals.
3. Differences in Supervision: Monitored vs. Unmonitored
Families are assured by the regular check-ins provided by home care agency management. Ongoing care is accompanied by supervision and evaluations to ensure that the senior receives the right type of in-home care. Agencies also ensure caregivers perform the assigned tasks.
The home care agency will check that the caregiver arrives on time and for all shifts. If a caregiver fails in any of these regards, the lack of professionalism can be reported to the agency. Disciplinary actions will be handled promptly by home care agency management.
Hiring a caregiver from a home care registry requires that the family monitor the work done by the professional. When families live a good distance away from their aging loved ones, properly supervising a caregiver’s daily work is a time-consuming responsibility.
Any corrective actions for late arrival, missing shifts or failing to perform the requested caregiving tasks fall upon the shoulders of the family members, if they elect to hire a caregiver from a home care registry. Personally carrying out penalizations is often uncomfortable for most people.
4. Differences in Cost: Higher vs. Economical
The cost of hiring a professional caregiver from a home care agency will likely be slightly higher than one from a home care registry. The discrepancy is often due to the fact that an agency’s fees include administration and other overhead costs, which are reflected in their care recipients’ bills.
Choosing to hire from a home care registry, while seemingly more economical at first, has its hidden financial drawbacks. If the caregiver fails to show up to work, the family member must take time off from work, leading to a loss of income.
Plus, when hiring from a home care registry, potential expenses are likely to surface. The family will require the additional services of an accountant, geriatric care manager or elder law attorney to assist with tasks relevant to payroll and human resources.
5. Differences in Backup: Replacements vs. None
If a home care agency caregiver quits unexpectedly, the agency will be quick to dispatch a replacement. As a result, gaps in care are minimal, if any. However, families will frantically scramble for a backup if a caregiver from a home care registry fails to show up to work.
Choosing a Home Care Agency
The benefits of choosing to work with a home care agency are enormous. Peace of mind, reliability and the right credentials make hiring a caregiver from Assisting Hands Home Care the right choice. Our caregivers are experienced, trained and background checked.
With compassion being our guiding principle, Assisting Hands Home Care will be there to support your loved one with all the elements of non-medical personal care, from meal preparation to bathing to transportation. Memory care services are also available to care recipients suffering from dementia.
The comprehensive personal care provided by Assisting Hands Home Care is designed to meet the daily needs of our elder care recipients. We’ll customize a care plan for your loved one. Families in the surrounding communities of Fort Myers, Florida, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for our dedication to providing a dignified quality of life for our elder care recipients.
For a free consultation regarding their home care services, contact Assisting Hands Home Care at (239) 221-6326.