Families who have decided that their loved one needs home care services often come to this crossroad: should they contact a home care agency or a private caregiver? While both of these options can deliver care in the comfort of your loved one’s home, one option might meet their needs better than the other.
You should consult with your family and loved one to decide what health care provider is the right fit for their situation. To help you decide, we have detailed the major differences between home care agencies and private caregivers below:
Home Care Agencies
Home care agencies are often Medicare-certified and provide care to patients in their homes. While services may vary, agencies typically offer skilled nursing and personal care. If you select a home care agency to provide care for your loved one, here is what you can expect:
Your Loved One Will Be Matched With a Compatible Caregiver
Home care agencies will work with your loved one to match them with a compatible caregiver. For example, Accessible Home Health Care uses the Access Match Caregiver system to select a caregiver that is best suited to meet your loved one’s needs. Since your loved one will be spending time with their caregiver, it is important that they get along on a personal level.
Caregivers Are Certified and Have Passed Background Checks
Before caregivers are hired, home care agencies make sure they have been given thorough background checks. Agencies also verify staff credentials, credibility, reputation, and often provide additional training before caregivers are matched with patients. Home care agencies like Accessible Home Health Care train their staff to handle the nuances of caring for those with Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and other types of dementia.
Our Compassionate Alzheimer’s & Loss of Memory Support Program (CALMS) makes sure our caregivers are up-to-date on the best practices to care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.This type of training ensures that caregivers mirror tasks and use positive language and redirection to help those with memory loss complete daily tasks. Private caregivers who have not received training specific to Alzheimer’s or dementia might not be as prepared to assist your loved one.
Care Is Available 24/7
If you use an agency to provide care for your loved one, you will have a team of caregivers within reach. A home care agency will make sure a caregiver is ready to help out whether your loved one needs care during the evenings, holidays, or around-the-clock. A team approach helps to ensure your loved one gets the care they need when they need it and prevents caregiver burnout.
The Cost of Care Reflects Additional Resources
While not as expensive as a nursing home or assisted living facility, hiring help from a home care agency does cost more than a private caregiver. When you choose an agency, you are also paying for the measures used to ensure your loved one’s safety, including the recruiting, hiring, training, and screening of caregivers. Often, agencies will assist you with the billing process and accept long-term care insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid to help cover the cost of care.
The Agency Handles All Taxes and Insurance
Home care agencies are required to handle payroll taxes and provide professional liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. For example, if the caregiver gets injured on the job, the worker’s compensation insurance will provide for the caregiver’s recovery. In case the caregiver accidentally damages a valuable household item, liability insurance will cover the cost of repair. Often, families are given peace of mind knowing that all payroll taxes and insurance are covered by the agency, allowing them to focus on spending time with their family.
A private caregiver, also known as a non-certified aide, offers personal care services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and companionship. These types of caregivers often work as private-duty hires for families. If you select a private caregiver to provide care for your loved one, here is what you can expect:
The Client Is Responsible for Hiring Care
You are in charge of the hiring process when selecting a private caregiver. Families will often place an ad online or use a friend’s recommendation to find a private caregiver near their loved one. While some families enjoy this process and feel in control when hiring a private caregiver, others feel overwhelmed by the hiring and interviewing process.
The Client Is Responsible for Background Checks
After finding and interviewing potential caregivers, the client is then responsible for checking references and completing background checks. For example, some qualifications to look for include CPR training, first aid training, and any additional certification courses for health care services. Screening potential private caregivers can be a long and thorough process, and some families may find it difficult.
Additional Care May Be Required
A private caregiver does not have additional staff to substitute for them. If the private caregiver cannot make an appointment, the client will be in charge of finding a replacement. For those who need 24/7 care, using a private caregiver might not be an ideal arrangement.
Care Is Less Expensive
Hiring a private caregiver is usually the most economical choice for families. However, since services are privately paid for, they are not reimbursable under Medicare and private health insurance. Some types of long-term care insurance might help cover the cost of care, so it’s a good idea to consult your insurance carrier.
The Client is Responsible for Taxes and Insurance
If you directly hire a private caregiver, you are responsible for paying all payroll taxes and reporting their income to the IRS to comply with the law. You are also liable if the private caregiver is injured on the job. The additional paperwork and responsibility that comes with hiring a private caregiver can be overwhelming for families and potentially costly if an accident occurs or paperwork is not filed correctly.
Comparison Between Home Care Agencies & Private Caregivers
Below is a handy chart that goes over the biggest differences between home care agencies and private caregivers.
Regardless of what option you choose, you should select the one that is right for your loved one. If you are interested in learning more, we can offer a helping hand. We will work with you to develop a plan of care to help your loved one remain independent in the home that they love. Contact us today to begin your care journey.