Should You Hire a Private Caregiver or Use an Agency?
The urge to hire a private caregiver for your loved one outside of an established home health care agency is understandable, but may not be the best choice in the long run. People often look for private caregivers because they believe the cost will be less and they will have more control. However, in most cases, the risks of hiring a private caregiver greatly outweigh the benefits. We’ll break down some of the things you should keep in mind when considering who to hire to care for your loved one.
The Risks of Hiring a Private Caregiver
To help protect you and make sure your loved one gets the best possible care, we take a closer look into what is involved in hiring a caregiver.
- Conducting background checks. When you are hiring a private caregiver, you will need to do any background checks on your own. This is an important step that might be tempting to skip. Don’t.
- Payroll. How do you plan to pay your caregiver? An agency will do all the heavy lifting, but with a private caregiver, you will need to consider what taxes to withhold, including social security. Essentially, you’ll need to know the current tax laws as they pertain to hiring workers which can be a lot of work.
- Liability insurance. In the event of fraud, theft, abuse, or exploitation, is your insurance going to be able to cover you and provide the necessary protection? These are real risks that seniors face. An agency will be able to deal with these things on their end, but a private caregiver will fall entirely on you.
- Work Experience. Just like with any other hiring situation, references are important in making sure you find the right person for the job. It is your responsibility to make sure a private caregiver has the proper experience and understanding of the responsibilities that come with home health care and medication management.
- Scheduling. Managing a privately hired caregiver can take more time and stress than most people realize. Also, what if your private caregiver calls in sick the night before and you can’t make yourself available to fill in? Consider the following situations and how you’d deal with them:
- A caregiver does not show up for a scheduled shift.
- A caregiver quits without warning.
- A caregiver requests a last-minute schedule change
- A caregiver complains about tasks or is unable to perform necessary actions.
Benefits of a Home Care Agency
Many of the time-consuming and stressful aspects of hiring a private caregiver are not a factor when using a home health care agency. The agency will have caregivers to fill in for situations where the primary caregiver is unavailable and all agency employees are properly vetted. The agency will also handle all scheduling and payroll, as well as deal with any accusations of abuse or neglect.
If you make the decision to hire a private caregiver, make sure to take everything we mentioned into consideration and be fully prepared for the work involved. If you go this route and it doesn’t work out, you can always reach out to a home care agency instead.