Once a family has made the decision to hire a caregiver for their loved one, they are faced with the question of whether to hire an independent caregiver or to utilize a homecare agency…

Homecare agencies are licensed businesses that employ professional caregivers and send them to the home of a client to provide one-on-one care in the home. Agencies conduct comprehensive pre-employment screening processes including but not limited to: background checks, drug testing, and motor vehicle histories. Agencies hire Certified Nursing Assistants and Home Health Aides that provide companion and/or personal care, which consist of assistance with activities of daily living including but not limited to: planning and preparing meals, transportation, personal hygiene assistance and bathing. Agencies such as Connections In-Home Care also develop and maintain a Care Plan for staff to follow and employ Case Managers that oversee care and manage caregivers. If a caregiver is unable to attend a shift, the agency model is designed to send a substitute so the client is not left unattended, many times on short notice. The Care Plan is simply sent to the substitute caregiver so the care is seamless.

Independent or private caregivers are employed directly by the client.

There is no intermediary agency between the care recipient and the caregiver.

Clients who hire independent caregivers must take on the responsibilities of acting as the caregivers’ employer. However, by taking on this employer role rather than going through an agency there are hidden costs and risks of acting as the employer which one must realize to legally hire an independent caregiver. The main risk factor is that the private caregiver is not covered under worker’s compensation insurance, so the client would be liable if the caregiver becomes injured on the job, while a client’s homeowner’s insurance holds no coverage for this type of event. The hidden costs and time include the time the client and/or their family must put forth in the hiring, managing, and making payments to the independent caregiver while the client would be legally responsible for the complicated process of deducting social security and other taxes, and would essentially be responsible to know and follow current labor laws. Additionally, if a private caregiver quits or cannot make their shift it becomes a hardship for the client and/or their family to find a replacement, especially on short notice.

To sum up the debate, agencies typically cost 20-30% more than hiring a private caregiver, but between the risks, added responsibilities and hidden potential costs associated with a private caregiver, utilizing a homecare agency such as Connections In-Home Care is the obvious choice to make when in-home care is needed.