Senior care has changed in recent years from an emphasis on retirement homes and assisted living communities to in-home care. Most people prefer to stay in their own homes when they reach retirement age and retain their independence for as long as possible. Eventually, declining health or medical issues make some sort of in-home assistance necessary. Finding the right person to help out can be difficult. Is it best to hire a caregiver directly, or work with the staff at a home care agency? There are several things to keep in mind when choosing someone to provide in-home assistance for your loved one.
How to Choose a Home Care Provider
- A home care agency carefully screens all members of their care staff. They assess the levels of training, conduct background checks, and are responsible for continuing education, disciplinary action, and termination if necessary. If you hire someone yourself, you’re responsible for creating the advertisement in the newspaper or job website, screening candidates, conducting checks, providing disciplinary action, and terminations.
- An agency has other caregivers on staff, so if the one assigned to your loved one is ill or on vacation, another one can easily step in at a moment’s notice. When you hire a caregiver on your own, you may be out of luck in case of illness, and a vacation requires advanced planning and scrambling to find respite care.
- Caregivers who work through an agency can be bonded. Bonding protects clients against theft by employees of the home care agency. Caregivers who are hired independently can’t be bonded.
- An agency provides their employees with liability insurance and worker’s compensation. These must be paid by an individual if a caregiver is independently hired. If these types of insurance aren’t used and a caregiver is injured on the job, the client is legally responsible for damages and expenses.
- An agency is able to properly assess the skill levels of applicants to see if they’re qualified for the position. Training is especially important if the patient requires medical care, has mobility issues, or has a condition like Alzheimer’s disease.
- Any employer is required by law to file payroll taxes, tax forms, and verify that caregivers are legally able to work in the U.S. Failure to do any of these results in stiff penalties. An agency has staff that does this paperwork every day, while many people wouldn’t know where to begin.
Watching your budget is important when it comes to in-home care, but you don’t want to cause more work for yourself, or create big trouble in the future because you didn’t understand a technicality. Working with a home care agency gives you protection against the payroll, insurance, training, and discipline responsibilities of an employer while ensuring that you get help from a well-trained, insured, and bonded caregiver. The staff at Assisting Hands is experienced in finding and processing the quality home caregivers you need for your loved ones. We handle all the paperwork for you so you can manage the rest of your life.