I just listened to a podcast on AARP’s Web site about “Choosing a Home Care Worker,” and it is very good. I would recommend listening to it. The podcast makes some very good points about background checks, family engagement, keeping a close eye on care and others. However, there are some serious gaps in the audio article, in my view. I posted a comment on the site, which is reproduced below:
There are so many great things in your podcast that I will be posting a link to it in my own senior care blog, supportforhome.wordpress.com. However, there are some serious misconceptions and omissions.
First of all, some of the very best agencies are “for profit,” from a tax perspective. Quality is not about being “not-for-profit.” Secondly, the dangers of hiring a “private” caregiver, rather than working with an agency which actually serves as the employer of record are very serious.
I know of one case where caregivers were hired privately, through a family’s business. The paid workers comp, unemployment insurance, etc. Everything is good, right? Not so much. The family / business did not know to use the right workers comp code, so a claim blew up in their faces. Not pretty. A carrier may even choose to not cover employees if home care is outside the scope of the normal “business of the business.”
Other families have thought their home owners insurance would protect them, in terms of liability, only to have the insurance companies say, “Nope, that’s a domestic employee. You need business liability. Home owners insurance does not cover.”
The bottom line is that very few families – and even fewer senior clients without family resources – have the knowledge and resources to do everything right to protect themselves.
In our experience, so-called “independent contractors” hired privately by a family virtually never protect the family in terms of liability insurance, dishonesty bonds, worker comp insurance, unemployment insurance and so forth. We have had clients come to us after the government starts raking them over the coals about back taxes, social security, etc.
The warnings in terms of ensuring the family keeps a close eye on care are spot on. That is a lot easier to do when there is an accountable, reputable home care agency to work with, rather than an individual — who may get sick or move or just get tired — or just get fired.
Again, many great points. Thank you. Bert Cave, Support For Home In-Home Care
The bottom line is, demand integrity and quality fromt he home care agency you hire. We can be fired on 24 hour notice. Any good senior care agency knows that every shift is an interview. If you do not pass that interview, you will not be asked back. But be very careful about hiring “independent” caregivers. If they cannot provide you with the same protections — insurances, avoidance of unemployment claims, …, all the stuff above — don’t do it. It is just too dangerous.
Best wishes, Bert