When looking for a home care provider, families are faced with many decisions, including whether to hire a full service home care service agency or a registry.
Agencies, such as Assisting Hands®, hire caregivers as employees. As such, caregivers are scheduled to care for clients and are under supervision of the agency’s staff and a Registered Nurse. Registries, on the other hand, arrange for the services of home care workers on an independent contractor basis, also known as a 1099. These workers are directed to care for clients; but they are not employees of the registry, they are employed by the “client”.
Simple and straight: When hiring a caregiver from a registry, you may become his/her employer, and you might have to assume certain responsibilities, risks and liabilities.
Here are the most important things to know:
If you work with a registry, you receive a list of potential caregivers to interview. It may be up to you to perform background checks, and check references, salary, and work experience. If you hire a professional home care agency, the agency will take care of all these steps. They will assign a caregiver who is bonded and licensed by the agency and who is matched to your family’s needs.
If you hire from a registry, the caregiver may not have the right experience in providing care for a person. A professional home care agency will find the match from their deck of local caregivers and make sure that person is trained and re-trained throughout their work life. At an agency, all caregivers receive developed training and understands your loved one’s needs, regardless of the special need. By definition, a registry cannot train a 1099.
Once a caregiver is hired, how do you know that the services you hired the person to perform are being done correctly? When hiring caregivers through a registry, it’s up to you to monitor and supervise that employee. The agency staff and in-house RN will oversee the caregiver to ensure work is being done correctly, with love and care, and as directed by the Care Plan.
Home care agencies take care of payroll taxes, including federal and state taxes, Social Security, Medicare and unemployment. If you hire through a registry, you may be responsible for all these requirements.
What if a caregiver you’ve hired through a registry is injured while in your home? As the employer, you are responsible for the caregiver’s disability. Would your insurance cover this type of claim? In most cases, no. It’s much safer to hire a professional home care agency that carries liability insurance and worker’s compensation for their employees.
Ensuring your loved one’s safety
Few registries perform background checks, and they cannot supervise caregivers. Professional home care agencies perform criminal background checks and contact previous employers before hiring a caregiver; in the rare case of an illegal situation, the agency take responsibility and deal with law enforcement.
In some instances it might seem cheaper to hire from a registry. But don’t forget the hidden and potential costs of being on your own.
Remember this, YOU are paying a professional in-home care provider not only for the services of the caregiver, but also for an array of human support, tasks, protection, and peace of mind.