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Deciding on the right home care provider to suit your clients can be confusing and oftentimes overwhelming for them. Here you’ll find the pros and cons of the three most popular options: a privately hired caregiver, a home care agency and a family caregiver.

The first bit of knowledge your clients will need when it comes to considering home care options is the types of services they can expect to fall under the umbrella of “home care.”

What Services Fall Under the Home Care Category?

Typically, the term “home care” refers to non-medical services, where a caregiver performs personal care services like assisting your clients with bathing or helping him or her get dressed.

Lending a helping hand with household chores such as house cleaning work, laundry and preparing nutritious meals is also part of the job description. Finally, home care can include visits from a caregiver to simply keep your clients company.

The Types of Home Care: Private Hire, Agency and Family Caregiver

Now, let’s get into the type of home care provider that will best address the home care needs of your clients. Here, we’ll take a deep dive into their differences and similarities to help your clients make the best choice.

The Pros and Cons of Private Hire

A huge pro in privately hiring someone to take care of your clients’ home care is that the rate your client pays by the hour is generally less expensive when compared with an agency’s hourly rate. However, your client has to weigh that pro with the costs of hiring an employee. When your client hires someone privately, they’re on the hook for everything that comes with having an employee. This could include having to look into tax considerations, or being responsible for following local employment laws, which could include paying unemployment wages to a caregiver should your client need to dismiss them.

When your client is an employer to their caregiver, it also means they could be subject to legal action if the caregiver hurts themselves while caring for your client. Your client may also have to act quickly and find a replacement when their caregiver falls ill. Many find that the risk and time it takes to manage a privately hired caregiver may not be worth the cost-savings.

The Pros and Cons of Home Care Agencies

Agencies pre-screen their workers, which is a pro of working with an agency for your clients’ home care needs. For instance, a home care agency screens caregivers for any past criminal activity. Agencies are also bonded and insured, so your client will not be personally liable if their caregiver sustains an injury during the course of working in their home.

What’s more, home care agencies do the legwork for you, which can be a bonus if your client has a high-stress career or other responsibilities competing for their time.

Agencies will:

  • Perform household chores
  • Run errands
  • Help with bathing and dressing
  • Prepare meals tailored to dietary needs
  • Aid in transferring and positioning
  • Provide mobility assistance
  • Help for toileting/incontinence

If a caregiver falls ill, or if a client doesn’t find them to be a good fit, agencies can immediately replace the caregiver, to ensure continuity of care. While it is true that agency care is often accompanied by higher out-of-pocket costs, these extra fees are accompanied by the many benefits of letting an agency manage the care of your clients, providing everyone involved with peace of mind.

At Home Care Assistance (HCA), we are a home care provider that provides a long-term aging in place solution, which is different than other agencies who specialize in short-term care.

Our caregivers are expertly trained in:

  • Matching caregivers with clients according to the the needs, interests, and preferences of your clients
  • Attentive caregiving, by caregivers with credentials including LPN, CHHA, CNA and RN
  • Addressing client satisfaction with a care team available around the clock, ready to assist with your clients’ concerns
  • Overseeing client care by evaluating your clients in-person and ensuring our clients are pleased with our services throughout
  • Connecting clients to community services such as: social workers, hospital staff, or geriatric care managers

Here, your clients are not just a number: we create personalized care plans for clients and boast a client-to-caregiver ratio that’s three times the industry average.

The Pros and Cons of a Family Caregiver

The biggest advantage of going with family care is that a family member whom your client is comfortable with is the one providing care. This is especially helpful in instances where your client has a tendency to forget things, but is physically okay or is just resistant to care from outside providers.

On the other hand, family members who have other duties such as a full-time job or who don’t live nearby, and who may not initially realize the amount of work it will take for him or her to be a caregiver, find it hard to fulfill their responsibilities and end up burning out. Of course, no matter how easy caring for a family member is, it’s difficult to make up for a lack of training if your client needs specialized care. This can be a con that may be difficult to overcome. Many agencies, including HCA, offer respite care to give the caregiver a much needed break.

What to Look for in Home Care Providers/Services

If your client hires a home care agency, they’ll send out a caregiver based on your client’s needs and preferences, but they will also want to look at the agency’s practices.

Here are some actionable tips to follow:

  • Ask for a fee schedule, as there are differing fee structures (hourly rates, daily rates, and 24-hour-care rates)
  • Ask how they train their employees and whether they do background checks. Ask how they handle complaints or issues of poor service

Another smart question to ask is: “What makes your agency stand out?”

When interviewing a private caregiver, it’s important to ask about their previous employment history, and to ask a range of questions, including:

  • Why did you pursue this career?
  • I enjoy [activity, food, hobby]; is that something you could help me continue?
  • How do you respond to stressful situations?

When it comes to hiring an individual, it’s wise to do your due diligence and trust your gut.

On the other hand, it’s easy to vet HCA by looking at our FAQ page. For added comfort in making the decision to go with our home care provider services, we have both personal and professional testimonials available. It’s also easy to help your clients do their homework on our services by reading up on them in the News Room. A Client Care Manager also performs regular quality assurance visits to ensure your client is getting quality care at home throughout the length of our service.

Conclusion

Choosing a home care provider can feel intimidating and overwhelming at first, but we hope that this information gives you a knowledge base that will assist you in confidently assisting your client in making a decision.

Don’t forget, your client has options. A family caregiver may be suitable in some circumstances and can be supplemented with home care services. A private hire may be a prudent choice if your client is accustomed to dealing with employees. A home care agency covers all the bases that your clients need, so your clients’ families don’t have to worry about their care.

HCA is available to help give your clients that peace of mind. We understand how important it is for your client to find the agency that does just that. Use this checklist to help your client to compare and contrast agencies in your area, so you can get your clients the care they need and deserve.


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About the Author(s)

Ashley Mirone, a Certified Senior Advisor, has worked in the home care industry for more than 15 years and is passionate about aging services and important health, social and financial issues that affect the majority of seniors. Mirone is focused on building strategic partnerships and creating winning teams that do well by doing good. Throughout her career at Home Care Assistance, Ashley has earned a reputation for establishing and tapping into professional networks of business and entrepreneurial leaders to bring about breakthrough innovations, speed time to market and improve organizational outcomes.

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