Many families find themselves in the position of needing to hire home caregivers for a loved one. Some turn to a full-service agency, while others choose to find independent caregivers and hire them directly. There are advantages to both approaches. Families that use a full-service agency often save time and worry by having an experienced coordinator handle all the paperwork, interviews, and scheduling. The agency typically carries liability insurance and worker’s compensation, which the family would need to pay for on their own if they employed an independent caregiver.
Full-service agencies usually charge more than referral agencies or independent caregivers, but for many families, the built-in time savings and liability protections make it well worth the extra cost. Additionally, some agencies offer specialized care services such as respite and 24-hour home care.
In addition to arranging for care, full-service agencies screen caregivers for criminal background checks, drug screening, and TB testing. They also provide training and ongoing support to clients and their caregivers. Some agencies even have nurse practitioners on staff to help with more complex medical needs.
The initial interview/screening can be done by phone, but it’s important to meet the caregiver in person. If possible, the care receiver should be present at the interview, and other family members or concerned individuals are welcome as well. The caregiver should be asked to bring a resume, and references will need to be checked. In most cases, an in-home interview will be arranged with those who seem like a good fit.
Once you’ve found a caregiver who meets your loved one’s needs, the next step is to establish a schedule and discuss expectations. Most families find it helpful to set up hourly care, either for certain times of the day — such as to get them up and going in the morning or to bed at night – or for seven days a week. This provides consistency and allows the caregiver to build a rapport with the cared for individual.
A major downside of hiring independently employed caregivers is that they do not carry professional liability or workers’ compensation insurance. This means that if they were to be injured or damage a client’s property while working, the client could end up paying hundreds of dollars in expenses. Caregivers that are employees of a home care agency are bonded and insured, so this issue is avoided. Agencies also take care of payroll taxes and workers’ compensation, which can save the family time and worry. They also provide a backup caregiver in case a caregiver calls out sick. The benefits of using a full-service agency are considerable. They are a great option for those who need more involved, skilled medical or dementia-related care. In addition, many caregivers like the loyalty and recognition they receive from their agency employer, and stay with that agency for years. This is particularly true for family caregivers. Caregivers agency