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How Do I Hire a Caregiver from an Agency?

McNair Dallas Law

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Once you have a list of promising agencies, arrange a consultation. AARP has a checklist of important questions to ask before signing a home health contract.

Part One of AARP’s recent article entitled “How to Hire a Caregiver” explains that there are several types of caregivers you may consider consider hiring to provide in-home care and assistance.

The first question many people ask is who pays for in-home care?  Medicare does have some coverage for skilled in-home care when a need has been identified by a physician.  The care team may include nursing, physical or occupational therapy, wound care, respiratory therapy, and personal care assistance.  This care is only provided on a short-term basis, until the individual recovers or heals.  When longer term or ongoing care and assistance are needed, most people will need to pay privately unless they have a long-term care insurance policy that covers in-home care.  Some families choose to hire a friend or neighbor to care for their loved one, but most prefer the reliability of partnering with a Non-Medical Care Agency.

It doesn’t matter if your family member is eligible for Medicare, Medicare’s Home Health Compare can be a terrific tool for finding and researching home health agencies in your area.  It provides detailed information on what services they provide and how patients rate them.  When you have a list of promising agencies, you should schedule a consultation.

Some of the benefits of working with a Non-Medical Care Agency include:

  • Background checks. Caregivers must pass a background check.  The background check may include drug testing.
  • Experienced caregivers. Agencies are likely to have a number of caregivers who cared for other seniors with the illness or condition affecting your loved one.
  • Backup care. If the primary aide is sick or doesn’t work out, an agency typically can quickly find a replacement.
  • Liability protection in the event that a caregiver is injured while at the home.
  • No paperwork. The agency takes a fee, pays the aide and does the payroll and taxes.
  • Credibility & Accountability.  Agencies must meet certain regulations and record keeping practices.  They are audited regularly to ensure they are properly screening, training, and employing their caregivers.
  • Ongoing Training.  Agencies continually provide education and training to their employees.
  • Staffing.  If your loved one has a need for more (or less) support, the agency can adjust the schedule from just a few hours a week to 24/7.

Here are some potential drawbacks of working with an agency:

  • Greater expense. You’ll generally pay more for an agency-provided caregiver, than for someone your hire on your own.
  • Less control of who provides care.  The agency will try to match your loved one with a compatible caregiver, but not all matches will work out.  Agencies will then work with you to find a caregiver who meets the needs and preferences of your loved one.

If you are looking for a non-medical in-home care agency but don’t know where to start, give our office a call.  We work with many reputable agencies, and will be happy to provide you with a short list.

Reference: AARP (Sep. 27, 2021) “How to Hire a Caregiver”

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