What Are The Risks of Hiring a Private Caregiver?

Let’s take a closer look at what is involved in hiring a caregiver. Hiring private caregivers can be a full-time job and knowing the risks and responsibilities of hiring a caregiver will help protect you.

  1. Background checks. When hiring privately, you will need to do the checks yourself. It can be tempting to skip this step. Don’t
  1. Payroll taxes, minimum wage, and overtime. How will your caregivers be paid? If you are handling payroll, then you will need to consider what taxes need to be withheld. This includes social security. You may decide to hire caregivers as independent contractors. This means that they have the responsibility to report income. But it is your responsibility to know what the minimum hourly wage is and overtime pay. Bottom line: know the current tax laws on hiring workers.
  1. Liability insurance. What do you do in the case of fraud, theft, abuse, or exploitation? Talk to your insurance agent about additional protection in the event of illegal actions or accusations. There are real risks to seniors and/or their caregivers that can include the following types of abuse or neglect:
    • Physical
    • Sexual
    • Emotional
    • Medical
    • Financial
  2. Work experience and responsibilities. Checking references is critical to making decisions about whether to hire a caregiver. Verifying the experience of caregivers is also your responsibility. States each have their own rules about what a caregiver can and can’t do. For example, some states allow a caregiver to dispense medications while others do not. This is just one example of the myriad of tasks that can or can’t be performed according to state regulations.
  1. Scheduling and plan of care. Many people underestimate the time and stress of managing privately hired caregivers. How do caregivers know what their responsibilities are? How do you give feedback to your caregiver? That call in the middle of the night from a caregiver who is calling in sick the next day comes to you. How do you replace a caregiver who is essential to the care of your spouse or family member? Are you or another family member prepared to cover that shift if there is no backup? Consider these possible scenarios:
    • A caregiver does not show up for a shift.
    • A caregiver quits without notice.
    • A caregiver requests a schedule change.
    • A caregiver complains about tasks.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Home Care Agency?

Using a good home care agency helps mitigate a lot of the difficulties mentioned above, providing peace of mind on several fronts.

  1. An agency will perform background checks and references on employees prior to hiring. Some agencies also require drug testing.
  2. Payroll, taxes, and overtime pay are handled by the agency. Agencies comply with state and federal regulations with regard to employment practices.
  3. A home care company will do all scheduling and will replace a caregiver in the event of a missed shift. That middle of the night call will not come to you. It is the agency’s responsibility to replace caregivers and to make any necessary schedule changes. You can also let them know if you need to update your care plan or give feedback to your caregiver.
  4. Accusations of abuse, exploitation, or neglect are handled by the agency. Complaints can come from the client being served or the caregiver themselves. It can take some time and effort to sort out the truth but a good agency will take complaints seriously.

If you make the decision to hire a private caregiver, tread carefully, and be fully prepared for what is involved. Plan ahead, if possible,

for caregiving needs before a crisis occurs. Making decisions under duress can lead to poor judgment, so be flexible and willing to adapt as the journey continues!

The difference between home health care and non-medical home care.

What is Non-Medical Home Care?

Non-medical home care can also be identified by the following terms: personal care, companion care, homemaker services, custodial care, unskilled, and non-clinical. It provides valuable social interaction, helps with household chores, and assistance with activities of daily living including:

  • Meal Preparation
  • Laundry
  • Light Housework
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Transportation(most non-medical agencies will not allow the caregivers to transport clients)
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Medication Reminders

What is Home Health Care?

Home health care is medical in nature. A prescription from a doctor may be required to obtain these services that are provided by healthcare professionals such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists. Home health care may also be described as clinical care and skilled care.

Home health care companies provide the following services:

  • Administration of medication(including IVs and injections)
  • Monitoring Vital Signs
  • Wound care
  • Assistance with recovery from illness or injury
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech-Language Therapy
  • Monitoring of medical equipment
  • Expertise in specific medical conditions (like strokes, heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia)

Note that there may be some overlap in the provision of services. For example, a home health care company may also provide non-medical “homemakers” and personal care services if you identify a need for household assistance in your care plan.

What is the difference between other home health agencies and PHCS?

CNA/Home Health Aid Care

Our Home Health Aides are experienced, state-certified, and come highly recommended to provide both medical and non-medical care. If you or your loved one require assistance but do not require the expertise of a Registered Nurse, then a Home Health Aide may be the best, most economically feasible option for you. All our Home Health Aides have extensive experience in the hospital and the rehabilitation setting. Our HHAs are able to execute a treatment plan developed by a registered nurse and will assist with activities of daily living, including but not limited to, meal preparation, cleaning, bathing, and exercising. Our HHAs are also able to obtain vital signs and collect samples for lab testing.

Our team collaborates minimum weekly and when needed with family, medical providers, and most importantly with our patients. We set a plan and execute it based on what our patient wants.

We are owned and operated by registered nurses. Our goal is not about the bottom line but more importantly patient outcomes. Every case is assigned a nurse case manager to initiate and maintain a care plan.

PHCS operates on EMR(an electronic medical record) Our families are allowed to access this record in real-time with their loved ones’ permission. All scheduling, MD visit results are placed in this medical record. All medication dispensed is done so with a device Hero. Hero allows the nurse to program the medication from anywhere and order the medications that are needed. If our client needs a medication change the nurse is able to discharge the medication from the machine immediately without a visit.

PHCS operates with one of the finest Telehealth systems on the market Alyacare. We implemented this system well before social distancing was required.

We take tremendous pride in the care of our clients and their families. Tailor every care plan to meet that patient’s needs. We have never been hired by a client that has not fallen in love with their care team. We have taken some of the most critical patients home. With tremendous dedication from our staff and the hard work of the patients our outcomes far excelled the goal.

The next steps when you are making your final decision.

Make your decision by following the main points of this paper. Ensuring that the agency is licensed and insured to care for a loved one. It’s ok to ask to speak to references. PHCS recommends your speak to three families about their experience with the agency. Non-medical home care always sounds like the most financially feasible way. When choosing this option be aware that you still put a high level of stress on the family/ caregiver to manage medical appointments, transportation, and management of the staff and aids. I would refer to non-medical home care as elderly caregiving.

As a Clinical Director in some cases, non-medical home care may work. If you have a patient that is extremely well organized and enjoys giving people constant direction.

As someone who has been on all sides of the home care spectrum. I want to know that my loved one is cared for by loving individuals, that are being managed by a professional management staff that I can call 24/7 and get an answer.

Our staff is here for you whether you start with one service and decide to change to another. The first step would be finding the most knowledgeable staff to care for your loved one!

Take Care of Each Other,

Danielle Hannigan, RN

Director of Clinical Director

Phone (617) 870-1676

Fax (617) 412-3004


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