You have decided that you want to look for home health care assistance for you or a loved one. This can be very overwhelming as there are so many different ways of obtaining this care. One of the first things to figure out is if it would be more beneficial to hire a home health agency to provide the caregiver or to hire one independently. In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of both options and what they encompass.
The Difference Between a Home Health Agency and a Private Caregiver
Home Care agencies are licensed businesses that employ caregivers and then assign their caregivers to you or your loved one.
Through home care agencies one can hire medical and non-medical services. Licensed nurses employed through the agency can provide skilled medical care prescribed by a physician while other types of caregivers, such as homemaker companions or home health aides, can provide non-medical care. This consists of assistance with tasks such as preparing meals, eating, supervision, companionship, along with many more.
Independent or private caregivers are employed directly by the family or the individual soliciting care. When looking for a private caregiver, one must search for one that provides the services needed by the individual, whether that be medical or non-medical care.
Now we will go into some of the different factors to consider when deciding if hiring through an agency or an independent worker is more beneficial for you and your situation.
Generally, home health agencies tend to cost a little more than a private caregiver. This is due to the fact that they are intermediary that provides many supervisory services such as: following proper health regulations, licensing, payroll/tax compliance, that proper insurance/bonds are held, and that standards of care are being followed. With a lot of this in mind, it can create tedious tasks for the family or the individual when hiring an independent caregiver.
When looking into what types of care are provided by independent caregivers and home care agencies, it is important to keep in mind that while one can find independent caregivers who provide higher levels of skilled care, most independents tend to lean towards basic companion care. This is due to a lot less oversight and regulation for “hands-off” type of care.
Usually once “hands-on” care is needed the requirement for certifications and/or licensing, that have heavier local or state oversight for the caregiver, come into play. Knowing the differences of service for an in-home companion vs a home health aide can be beneficial in determining when it might be a little easier to get away with hiring an independent.
An advantage of hiring through a home health agency is that the process of interviewing and conducting background checks is much more robust. Home health agencies in Florida must conduct Level II FBI Background checks in addition to driver history checks. The background checks available to individuals searching independently aren’t as comprehensive.
Paying for Independent Care
While many families opt for “under the table” pay to independents for sake of ease and keeping cost down, it can create a mess if there is ever negligence or other legal issues with the caregiver. Even if the independent does hold liability insurance, paying them illegally may cause issues with whether or not the plan of care is valid and something the insurer will pay on.
This is one example of many that could come up in the unfortunate event of something going wrong. It is worth seeking legal advice prior to hiring someone independently.
While again it may come at a slightly higher cost, attaining homecare services through an agency is probably a much easier way of knowing that they are properly licensed, bonded, insured, and prepared to deal with any of these issues if they do arise.
In closing, it’s obvious that we are a home health agency and are in favor of people using elderly care services through companies such as ours. We also understand that this may not always be a viable option for families.
Independents can be hired and provide a positive experience. We just hope that families will at least take the time to do some research into the caregivers background, do some verification of licensing, and check for valid insurances. Of course, we are here for those that don’t want to deal with all of this.
Our team at Unified Pledge is always here to discuss your situation and provide insight where we can. No questions are too small for us, and we always provide a free consultation to assist you in estimating cost and creating the best care-plan!
Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:
● Level II FBI background checks of all staff
● Driving history checks
● Companions, health aides, LPNs are our direct employees and not independent contractors
● Constant communication to patients, family, and care team
● Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan
Contact us today for a free consultation by Supervisory Nurse at 561-910-8770.