Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Caregivers Agency
Caregivers agency provides home health aide services to seniors, elderly and disabled adults. Their care services include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring, and light housekeeping. They also help with meal preparation, grocery shopping and errands. They offer companionship and can take the senior on outings such as to doctors’ appointments, hair salons, theaters and social engagements. Some caregivers can also be trained to provide medication assistance and assist with wound care.
Agencies are licensed by the state and often meet any additional requirements, including training and background checks for workers. They also carry liability insurance, workmen’s compensation insurance and unemployment insurance. Agencies can be bonded, meaning they will reimburse the client for any costs related to services not provided or if the caregiver is injured while working. This is an important safety feature and should be requested before hiring an agency.
The downside is that agencies are typically more expensive than independent caregivers. This is due to a combination of the higher payroll taxes and administrative fees. Agencies will also often require minimum hourly commitments to cover travel costs for their workers.
Another disadvantage is that it can be challenging for a family to accept help from someone they don’t know. This is especially true if the person receiving care has dementia or another chronic illness that affects their cognition. It can be helpful for the family to spend some time with the caregiver before handing over their duties, in order to build trust and establish a rapport.
A major advantage of using an agency is that they can ensure that the caregiver you hire will be a good fit for your loved one. Most agencies have a process for matching caregivers and clients, such as a meet-and-greet and trial period. The agency will also have a support staff to handle any issues that arise between the caregiver and the client.
Caregivers who work for an agency are vetted and must pass criminal background checks, drug tests and have their certifications verified. The agency handles all payroll taxes, worker’s compensation and professional liability insurance for its employees. This gives the client peace of mind that their caregiver has been screened, trained and is insured in case something goes wrong during a visit.
Choosing between an agency and an independent caregiver can come down to personal preference and budget. For some families, the added peace of mind and resources offered by an agency is worth the increased cost. For others, the added flexibility and decision-making freedom of an independent caregiver may be a better fit. When in doubt, consult a care advisor who can arrange interviews with both options to determine which is right for your family. A home care advisor can be reached at AgingCare’s home care directory.