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The 7 Greatest Risks When Choosing a Home Care Provider

The 7 Greatest Risks When Choosing a Home Care Provider

Okay, so it really comes down to one big mistake that leads to this set of risks, and that’s hiring a person “off the street” rather than working with a professional home care company.

Would you hire some unknown person and start dropping your kids off at their house each day while you’re at work?  Not likely, most people refuse to cut this corner when it comes to the health, safety and well-being of their children.

So why are there so many people willing to take this type of risk with their aging parents?  There are a couple of factors at work here.  First, let’s examine the difference in mindset between caring for children and caring for senior parents.  We watch our children enter into this world, we care for them when they are truly helpless.  As they grow, we slowly let them find their own way in the world. With our parents it’s just the opposite, they’ve been the pillars of strength in our life, they protected us.  It never crossed our mind that the day might come when they would be the vulnerable ones. To make matters worse, there are an unfortunate number of people out there who take advantage of our senior population.  Elder abuse is a serious and growing problem in our society.  The abuse comes in many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, fraud, and through neglect.  Second, of course, is the money.  Most of us are constrained by fixed income levels.  Our parents are a generation of savers; many have rainy day funds tucked away.  However, for the same reason they were good savers back in the day, they continue finding ways to save. And they will often be the ones, either directly or indirectly, who are pushing to hire privately and save a few bucks an hour.

Of course, as the owner and operator of a family-run professional home care provider, I’m biased to believe that companies like mine do what we do for all the right reasons.  So here are my top 7 reasons why hiring a private caregiver puts you and your family at increased risk:

Here are the 7 Risks when choosing an in home care provider

  • Very few people have the proper resources to run a comprehensive background check. You might believe you can perform an online check, and you’re right.  For $10 or $20 most of us can get an online-generated report.  That’s better than nothing, but it’s hardly enough when you’re talking about trusting this individual to take care of a vulnerable parent.  At Arista Home Care Solutions the background checks begin with SSN verification to ensure proper identity, then proceed to National, State and Local level checks that include multi-state criminal record verification, fraud, terrorism, sex offender registry, drug trafficking and weapons violations.  Our background checks also include a “feet on the ground” courthouse record check in the county in which our prospective employee lives.
  • There’s no back up plan when the caregiver gets sick, their car won’t start, or simply doesn’t show up one day. People get ill, they need time off, perhaps to accompany their own parent to an appointment.  It happens.  The professionally-staffed companies have the resources, and in fact bear the burden, of handling these scheduling issues.
  • People don’t insist on getting someone with plenty of experience, and they don’t have the time or resources to train. Sometimes concern with costs may trump common sense but it shouldn’t. A caregiver who has no experience with your loved one’s condition can cause more harm than good. Arista Home Care’s caregivers are all professionally trained PCA’s (Professional Care Aides), and in all cases we provide additional training and instruction targeted to the specific needs of each client.
  • Private caregivers rarely prepare or maintain a comprehensive Care Plan. This is an important one.  A good care plan typically begin with a needs assessment and includes a history of conditions.  Arista Home Care Solutions’ Care Plans also contain emergency procedures, a daily service plan which includes medication management, on-going communication logs, activities of daily living logs, and a home safety analysis and checklist.
  • Not paying taxes. It’s very tempting to hire caregivers who will accept straight pay without any deductions, but that often comes back to haunt the employer. Not only is it illegal, it’s also not a very smart thing to do because payroll taxes include unemployment insurance, social security and Medicare benefits for the worker and act as proof that you had legitimate health care expenses for your taxes. When you hire professionally, these burdens all fall on the company that employs the caregiver.  Leave it to us so you can spend more quality time with your family.
  • Lack of Worker’s Comp Insurance. Another biggie, believe it or not home care companion aides get injured more than most people think.  They’re on their feet a lot, they help transfer elders, assist in the bathroom, a lot of unexpected things can happen.  Failure to have proper coverage in place can prove costly.
  • Very few privately employed caregivers carry the proper liability insurance, or are bonded against crime or theft. Why put yourself and your family at risk?

This list could be longer, including references checks during the interview and hiring process, drug testing, professional appearance and behavior, punctuality, reliability, on-going training, and the list goes on.

Think about it, this is the safety and well-being of your loved ones we’re talking about.  Is it worth the risk?

© 2015 Clayton Birney, Arista Home Care Solutions