Whether it’s helping a child with special needs, assisting a loved one recovering from surgery or providing companionship to an elderly neighbor, caregiving is a meaningful and gratifying job. It’s also a job that requires careful planning and consideration, especially when it comes to hiring a caregiver. The path you choose to take can have significant consequences for the quality of care your loved one receives and how much it costs.
Families can hire a private caregiver or work with a home health agency. The latter are agencies that provide both home medical and non-medical care, often with certified nurses on staff. Agencies usually charge a fee for their services and may have strict requirements for caregivers. They also provide background checks and liability insurance. They can also help you find government assistance to pay for care if your family is eligible.
Many families hire an independent caregiver, who is more likely to provide personal care. Depending on the family’s circumstances, they may decide to recruit their own caregiving professional or use a website or a third-party payroll management service to manage payroll and withholdings on behalf of an independent caregiver. The benefit of this option is that it can save money, but the family assumes responsibility for all hiring and payroll duties. It’s important to interview applicants together, if possible, to ensure that they have the skills your loved one requires and are a good fit.
Caregiving is a relationship-based job, so it’s important to build trust with the caregiver you or your loved one select. It can be challenging for a loved one to adjust to the newness of having someone in their home, especially in the beginning. Spend time with the caregiver to introduce them to your loved one and to establish a comfort level.
Caregivers that work with an agency have been prescreened and vetted and are generally more experienced than those who find their own clients. They’re also more likely to be insured, which can protect the client and their loved ones if an accident occurs on the job. Agencies can also offer backup care if the caregiver can’t make it to a shift, and they can upgrade the caregiver’s experience quickly if your loved one’s condition changes.
Choosing a caregiver should be done carefully and with the advice of family, friends, your doctor or other healthcare professionals. Ask for recommendations and speak with former clients of an agency to get firsthand experiences. If you have a Medicare-eligible loved one, be sure to check the agency’s ratings with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) before hiring, or see how they compare to other agencies on the site, Home Health Compare. caregiver agencies