Remaining at home with the assistance of a caregiver is the preferred living arrangement for many seniors and others who need some help but wish to retain their independence.
To find the right caregiver, most people turn to a full service home care agency like Assisting Hands which screens, hires and trains its employees. Families sometimes believe they will save some money by hiring a caregiver directly rather than working with an agency. When they hire someone directly, they become the employer and are fully responsible for their caregiver employee.
There are important considerations that people should be aware of before making this important decision.
- A home care agency that employs caregivers is bonded, insured and covers their employees under worker’s compensation. Independent (direct hire) caregivers who do not work for an agency do not carry their own liability insurance or worker’s compensation. If an accident or other incident occurs on the job, the employer (the client) would likely be responsible, costing the client hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- A home care agency will offer to provide a replacement if the caregiver cannot make it to work. If an independent caregiver calls off or doesn’t show up, the client will need a back-up plan since there won’t be an agency involved to send a replacement.
- Independent caregivers cannot be bonded. Bonding provides theft protection for the client.
- If hiring directly, the client is the employer and is therefore responsible for training, disciplinary action and terminating the caregiver if necessary. If using a home care agency, the agency handles these responsibilities.
- If hiring a caregiver directly, the client needs to be able to assess the quality and skill level of the caregiver. This is especially important if the client requires hands-on personal care, has limited mobility, dementia or Alzheimer’s. A quality home care agency trains and tests their caregivers, and can attest to their skill levels.
- By law, the client (employer) is responsible for filing payroll taxes, tax forms, and verifying that the employee can legally work in the U.S.
The team at Assisting Hands understands that in today’s tight economic times, saving money and using resources wisely is more important than ever. However, the client should carefully consider the risks of hiring a caregiver directly instead of working with a home care agency.