Home Care Agency versus Hiring Direct
Determining what type of home caregiver to hire depends on your needs, preferences, and financial resources. It is important to assess your needs and your loved one's level of care. Once this has been established you will want to consider whether to hire someone from a home care agency or direct. This decision will have implications in terms of training, cost, type of the individual you employ and other factors.
Home Care Agency
Home care agencies offer consumers convenience. Some are more medically oriented while others provide exclusively non-medical care. Some offer to be the employer of record and other just a registry. An agency has the ability to be more flexible to adjust the type of caregiver when your needs change because they carry a pool of caregivers to select from.
An agency such as AdvantagePlusCaregivers.com® can also offer supporting information, resources, and products to help support the caregiver and care recipient.
- Trained and licensed caregivers are available.
- A backup system in case the usual home care worker is not available.
- Able to furnish references or other assurances of the caregiver's competency.
- Responsible for the caregiver's benefits, etc.
- Supervises the caregivers; if you do not like the person the agency will make the necessary replacement.
- Assumes full liability for all care.
- Generally easier to find help on short notice.
- Cost is typically higher.
- Higher costs may mean using fewer hours of care overall.
- Shifts are usually limited to a minimum amount (often 4 hours).
- There may be less flexibility in the type of tasks each category of home care worker is permitted to do.
- You may not be able to choose the individual only the caregiver type.
When you hire individually to provide home care services some caregivers are listed in attendant registries at local community-based programs, others are located through advertising or word of mouth. Hiring someone independently maximizes consumer choice and control. Training, skill and fees for independent caregivers vary greatly. You may wish to contact a local independent living center to ask about average rates in your community.
- Choose whom to hire according to your best judgment (even friends, neighbors or relatives).
- Consumer control to direct the care.
- Cost is typically lower than an agency.
- More hours can be purchased for fewer dollars.
- Flexibility to use just a few hours at a time or split a 4-hour shift into morning and evening (as long as the worker also agrees).
- Expand care and defer some costs by offering room and board as partial payment for live-in care.
- No restrictions for driving or other duties mutually agreed upon.
- Additional work and time to locate and interview applicants and check references.
- No guarantee of a nursing credential or related tasks to meet your own needs
- Background checks are up to you.
- Usually no backup should your independent provider be unable to work.
- Liability for care is not covered by an agency.
- Additional responsibilities as the employer (e.g., paperwork for social security, taxes, employee benefits). It is advisable to consult with a tax specialist regarding employer and employee withholdings. Or, check out the IRS household employer's tax guide.
Making Your Choice
Whether you choose an agency or hire directly you can increase your confidence by asking about your caregiver's prior experience, training, credentials and by checking references. When hiring someone independently you can also conduct a personal background check by getting written authorization from a prospective caregiver for criminal background, medical records, driving record, and credit score. For a fee, some companies will conduct a background check for you.
When deciding on your caregiving needs think of the cost and conveniences. Perhaps paperwork and employer responsibilities seem overwhelming. Assessing your preferences will help you choose whether to use an agency or hire directly. We invite you to give AdvantagePlusCaregivers.com® a call and see how we can make caring easier.