September 14, 2010

Believe it or not one of the biggest competitors to our company is not another licensed home care agency, but the private caregiver.  While private caregivers can be a viable option to consider when choosing someone to provide home care for your loved ones, please take the time to understand all of the factors involved when choosing this option.

One of the primary factors to consider is your status as an employer.  Once you hire a private caregiver you will probably meet the threshholds that define you as an employer in the state you reside in.  At that point you will need to withhold and pay state and federal payroll and unemployment taxes.  Depending on the state you reside in you may also need to carry worker's compensation.

Our agency also puts each caregiver through a 17-step hiring process before placing them in our client's home.   Some of the steps include criminal background checks, state misconduct checks, reference checks, license checks and driver's record checks.  While many private citizens can access some of these resources, it becomes very labor intensive and expensive to check the background of each prospective caregiver.  Private caregivers tend to have a high turnover rate so this process may need to be repeated often.

Other questions to consider when hiring privately is who will take care of your loved one should the caregiver become ill, needs a vacation or just doesn't show up one day?  Can you afford to take time off from work to look for a replacement?  Who will supervise the caregiver and monitor the quality of their care?  What if your loved one's care needs suddenly increases beyond the capacity of one caregiver?  If a trust or honesty issue comes up, who will do the investigation? 

These are just a few things to consider when deciding between hiring a private caregiver or through an agency.  While there are many qualified private caregivers, please be sure to be in the “know” before you hire.