Many families resort to hiring a professional caregiver at the last minute—when an elderly loved one suddenly falls ill or experiences an injury. Families scour online sites in a frenzy to meet emergency care needs; or, quick calls are made to agencies who can dispatch a caregiver.
Caregivers are plentiful, and hiring options are twofold: private versus home care agencies. Rather than wait until a crisis leaves the family in the precarious position of finding an immediate caregiver for an elderly loved one, weigh the advantages and benefits of the two types of caregivers in advance.
Private Caregiver vs. Home Care Agency Services
Families in need of care for the senior in their lives should first determine what type of care is required. Different caregivers parade diverse credentials, which also comes with equally varying costs. Home care aides contrast remarkably from medical caregivers in the level of expertise they provide.
Certified home care aides provide assistance with non-medical tasks, such as helping the elderly bathe, prepare meals and groom. Registered nurses or certified medical assistants are qualified to check vital signs, change wound dressings, and administer medications, among other tasks.
Determining whether the senior requires home care or home health care points families in the right direction. Home health care agencies retain a staff of licensed professionals who are trained to provide a limited number of medical services. Private companion aids may be found through referrals.
Private Caregiver vs. Home Care Agency Comparison Factors
Conducting initial screenings and checking references are critical to hiring the right private caregiver. Home care agencies assume this task, conducting background checks on their caregiving professionals. In either case, interviewing the caregiver to check for compatibility with the care recipient is a must.
Costs differ dramatically when it comes to financing a caregiver. The services of private caregivers are far more economical than hiring an individual from a home care agency. In fact, private, non-medical caregivers charge 20 to 30 percent less than those working in an agency.
The national averages for non-medical home care from an agency can range from $15 to $27.50 per hour. Costs for service from agencies are typically higher due to administrative costs and various overhead charges that their customers bear a portion of.
Private caregivers are most often uninsured or underinsured. Numerous risks are associated with uninsured caregivers. If the caregiver has an accident in a care recipient’s home, the senior is financially liable. Alternately, in instances of theft or abuse by the caregiver, the senior has little to no recourse.
Agency caregivers are insured. The significance of insurance is key for families, since any accidents that befall a caregiver in the home are covered by the agency. The home care agency also protects against losses that occur due to the caregiver stealing or causing damage to the care recipient’s property.
Families can entrust a greater number of tasks to a private caregiver. Flexibility in services provided is the end result. However, each state does regulate the activities of a private caregiver; some states prohibit caregivers from dispensing medicines, for instance.
When working with a home care agency, a care plan will be developed at the start of care. The initial care plan is flexible and may be altered as the senior’s care needs change over time. Professional caregivers adhere to the care plan to provide the necessary level of care.
As in any field, time off for sickness, emergencies and vacations are part of the course. When a private caregiver takes three days off for an unexpected illness, the family is left scrambling for a temporary replacement. Situations like these leave an ailing senior without care for a significant duration.
In direct contrast, a home care agency provides replacement caregivers when a professional takes an unexpected leave of absence. One drawback to this convenience is that the senior must get used to a new caregiver for the brief time the new individual steps in.
6. Administrative Tasks
Families who choose to hire a private caregiver are responsible for ensuring all payroll and taxes are accurate and paid. Plus, prior to contracting a private caregiver, the family should be aware of the industry’s average wage rates and overtime pay rates.
The home care agency takes the stress out of the administrative duties when families hire professional caregivers through an agency. All state and federal regulations in regard to caregiver employment are also strictly adhered to by home care agency administrative personnel.
Contracts are important when hiring a private caregiver. The document outlines all responsibilities to be performed as well as scheduled workdays and meal hours. Confidentiality clauses should be included in the contract. The family is responsible for drawing up such a contract and enforcing it as needed.
Working with a Home Care Agency
A contract from a home care agency, however, is written up by agency representatives. Items that may be outlined in the contract include services to be provided, pirating clause, direct hiring clause, payment options the family has access to and, if non-medical services are provided, an indemnifying clause.
Assisting Hands Home Care – Hollywood, FL
While it is possible to find qualified, licensed and insured private caregivers, going through a home care agency offers numerous advantages. Assisting Hands Home Care in Broward County, Florida, offers comprehensive elder care services tailored to meet the needs of the senior individuals in their care.
Our non-medical services include assistance with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming and transportation. The professional caregivers on our staff are skilled in hospice care, 24-hour care, live-in care, dementia care and respite care. We also provide fall prevention services to keep your loved one safe.
Assisting Hands Home Care is dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in Broward County, Florida, and its surrounding communities.