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The Dangers of Private Hiring

There are risks in hiring private care givers that do not work for a professional agency.  Some of dangers include:

Insurance Liabilities

What happens if the unlicensed Aide has an accident, gets injured or injures someone else in the home?  If you hire privately, you can be liable if a caregiver is hurt on the job.  The family or patient could face a lawsuit that could cause tremendous financial damage.  When hiring through an agency you are protected by a professional company that is licensed and has the proper liability insurance to cover situations that otherwise could bankrupt a family or patient.  If a serious lawsuit, the patient, or family could end up losing their savings and home.

Unqualified Caregivers

Qualification is key in the home care industry. When a family hires privately, they are making serious assumptions that the caregiver is qualified to take care of their loved ones.  The Aide may not have the proper certifications and training required to meet the needs of the patient.  Caregivers from a home care company undergo extensive background checks and meet New York State Department of Health requirements. All Community Care employees when hired must pass a skills competency evaluation and return demonstration to ensure they are qualified to provide patient care.  When you hire from an agency you can feel confident that they will receive an Aide that meets the health and safety requirements mandated by the state as well as the agency.

Criminal Record Checks of Caregivers

For people looking to hire privately for a loved one, it is difficult to verify that the caregiver does not have a criminal record.  It is important to have caregivers who do not have a criminal history.  New York State has established a rigorous criminal history background check.  All Community Care employees must be cleared by New York State to work and if an employee has a subsequent arrest during their employment, Community Care will be notified immediately.  If a family hires privately, most likely they are not able to conduct background checks on the caregivers. Remember that caregivers who are licensed by reputable agencies undergo state and federal criminal background checks.  Community Care will never hire a person with a criminal record to work in someone’s home caring for a loved one.  Many times, the family will have little recourse if a loved one is abused or neglected other than to dismiss the caregiver.  The same goes for theft.  It is difficult to prove and most times will never be resolved.  When working with an agency you can swap caregivers at any time for any reason if you suspect and issue with neglect or theft.  If there is any allegation of neglect or theft, Community Care will conduct and extensive investigation.  

Back Up

When hiring a HHA or PCA from an agency you have the peace of mind knowing that if for some reason that Aide can’t work that day the agency will find a backup Aide to provide care.  If a family is hiring privately, they probably will not have a backup ready if a caregiver calls in sick or cannot show up due to personal reasons.  Hiring privately and not having a backup plan can create serious risks for the patient and the family, not to mention that added stress of trying to find a replacement at the last minute.  Many times, family members will have to skip work or rearrange schedules if their privately hired Aide is not available to care for the patient on a certain day or quits unexpectedly.  If the caregiver fails to show up your loved one will miss the essential services required. Community Care employees a bench of back up caregivers to fill in as needed.  We call these “staff Aides”.  They are available to fill in when a caregiver cancels their shifts.

Medical Bills for Private Hire

When a family hires privately, they are classified as the employer.  If a caregiver becomes sick, you as an employer are responsible for the medical bills. Home care is a physical job and sometimes, caregivers get injured while undertaking their duties. The family or hiring patient will be responsible for any disability that may result from the services offered. Since in a private hire case, the family is the employer, they may not have legal recourse for medical bills if the caregiver accidentally harms their loved one, in this case the patient.

Managing a Privately Hired Caregiver is Stressful

How will a privately hired caregiver know his or her responsibilities?  The privately hiring family will have to take a lot of time trying to make sure that the caregiver does exactly what he or she is required and expected to do. Before the caregiver can work on their own, the family will have to closely monitor them to ensure that they understand what that patient needs.  Hiring, firing, scheduling, managing care requirements and daily duties can be extremely stressful on a family or loved ones if they decide to private hire.  Also, when hiring privately, there is no clinical oversight and no coordination of care with the physician.

Recap – Benefits of Using an Agency

A home care agency can replace a caregiver in case a caregiver misses a shift. It is the responsibility of the agency to make sure that your loved one receives all the necessary services all the time. There are situations when caregivers are held up or sick. In such cases, the agency will do the replacement immediately.

Home care agencies provide qualified and insured caregivers. The home care agency checks the caregivers’ references, and they can verify their experience and qualifications. An agency is also required to be compliant with state regulations regarding caregiver approved tasks and responsibilities.

The home care agency handles accusations of theft, abuse, exploitation, or neglect. Complaints can come from the caregivers themselves or their clients. The agency will be able to do an investigation and find a solution for the patient and family.

Homecare agencies handle payroll, taxes, insurance, and overtime payments. Agencies are licensed to operate and complies with all state and federal regulations concerning employment practices.

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