Remaining at home with the assistance of a caregiver is the
preferred living arrangement for many seniors and others who need
some help but wish to retain their independence. To find the right
caregiver, most people turn to a full service home care agency like
Assisting Hands which screens, hires and trains its employees.
Families sometimes believe they will save some money by hiring a
caregiver directly rather than working with an agency. When they
hire someone directly, they become the employer and are fully
responsible for their caregiver employee. There are important
considerations that people should be aware of before making this
- A home care agency that employs caregivers is bonded, insured
and covers their employees under worker's compensation. Independent
(direct hire) caregivers who do not work for an agency do not carry
their own liability insurance or worker's compensation. If an
accident or other incident occurs on the job, the employer (the
client) would likely be responsible, costing the client hundreds or
even thousands of dollars.
- A home care agency will offer to provide a replacement if the
caregiver cannot make it to work. If an independent caregiver calls
off or doesn't show up, the client will need a back-up plan since
there won't be an agency involved to send a replacement.
- Independent caregivers cannot be bonded. Bonding provides theft
protection for the client.
- If hiring directly, the client is the employer and is therefore
responsible for training, disciplinary action and terminating the
caregiver if necessary. If using a home care agency, the agency
handles these responsibilities.
- If hiring a caregiver directly, the client needs to be able to
assess the quality and skill level of the caregiver. This is
especially important if the client requires hands-on personal care,
has limited mobility, dementia or
Alzheimer's. A quality home care agency trains and tests their
caregivers, and can attest to their skill levels.
- By law, the client (employer) is responsible for filing payroll
taxes, tax forms, and verifying that the employee can legally work
in the U.S.