Using A Home Care Agency Vs. Hiring Directly
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 in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, 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.
Why an Agency like Assisting Hands
Caregivers are the heart of Assisting Hands. We hire caring and compassionate people who enjoy helping others. Our goal is to find the best caregivers from our large pool of applicants. We thoroughly screen all applicants, hiring only one out of every ten people who apply. All employees have experience and are interviewed at length. Finding the right caregiver is part art, part science. Before starting a job, employees are certified, bonded, and insured. Our caregivers also all undergo a thorough background check.
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When choosing home care you will find several alternatives but selecting an agency will save you money and will eliminate some of the potential risks for other less traditional models.
Agencies hire caregivers as employees. This is a huge difference because as employees, caregivers will be insured, trained and bounded. Unfortunately, several broker type companies have been popping up with incredible aggressive offerings that perform more as brokers facilitating contractors. In an Agency, Caregivers are scheduled to care for clients and are under the supervision of both the agency’s staff and a registered nurse.
The other types of providers arrange for the services of home care workers on an independent contractor basis, also known as 1099. These workers are directed to care for clients; but they are not employees of the “Registry”, they are employed by the “client”. This is extremely risky because you may end up responsible for contingencies like an accident. Contractors are not bounded, insured, nor covered by workers’ compensation. That is why an accident on the job could turn out in a substantial financial liability.
A common misconception is that the probability of an accident is low for caregivers, but they are frequently in the position of lifting or supporting seniors, which can cause injuries. Any complaints are filed with the home care agency’s insurance.
Since registries can only hire as an independent contractor, they are less likely to be bonded and insured. While most of the caregivers are honest and reliable, negligent, abusive and criminal caregivers also exist and could be a risk and a liability for you. Workers’ compensation matters are also handled by the hiring family member.
If the caregiver as an independent contractor gets injured on the job, such as from a fall or sprain, the family member supervising is responsible for the associated medical bills and any resulting disability. In most cases, homeowner’s insurance does not cover this type of claim.
What about Supervision and training?
If the caregiver is not performing up to your expectations or arrives late, misses shifts and is not caring for you or your loved one as you expect, you can report your complaints to the agency and they will handle it in a less personal way. Agencies have a disciplinary policy in place for helping their employees to improve or, if you prefer, they can send you a different caregiver.
With an independent contractor in a Registry provider, supervision is something that is not part of their operations model. The fact that giving orders and acceptance by the caregivers might build a labour relationship, force contractors to avoid consistent supervision. That is why families are on their own and they will have to talk directly to the caregiver, which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable for most people.
Training is also another dimension that only agencies may deliver because there is no risk of a labour relationship like with contractors. That is why you can assure the best-trained caregivers through agencies and not contractors in a Registry provider.
The Hidden cost in Home Care Services
Hidden costs are part of any service you acquire, but advantages such as experience, training, certifications, supervisory, and follow-ups are something everyone can provide. A caregiver trained, supervised, insured, and meticulously recruited will provide efficiency and quality with zero risks. Caregivers like that are only available through a Home Care Agency
In the end, the best way to save money is by maximizing the outcome of the service and only Agencies like Assisting Hands, are capable to recruit and guaranty well-trained caregivers who normally go beyond the normal activities and provide much more value for the same money delivering in less time with more quality at no risk. It is always good to remember that you are paying for a professional in-home care provider not only for the services of the caregiver but also for human support, the well-being of your loved one and the peace and mind of the family.