Do I hire privately or do I go to an agency?

New York State Department of Health is responsible for monitoring the care provided by home care and home health agencies. But care at home is not only provided by such institutions but also by placement or franchise agencies. They provide aides hired by families directly.

While your initial cost may be lower, consider other factors that matters more than a penny saved like:

  • Burden of responsibility lies on the family or the senior as employer. You will have to adhere to local employment laws like securing workers compensation, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, Medicare and social security insurance. as an employer, you maybe responsible for employment taxes and other employment benefit as mandated by law. Did you check whether the aide is on unemployment or disability benefit?
  • Typically private hire aides are not bonded and insured. No one is liable or supports the liability issue.
  • Management of aide’s time, work schedule or system lies on the senior or family. Family members who are mostly out of state or live a fair amount of distance from the senior may not be able to manage the aide. In cases too when the aide is not available or sick, the senior can be left alone and the family member may not be informed about it.
  • Lack of professionalism with private aides as they do not measure up to a given professional standards like aides from the agencies. Seniors are at risk of abuse and being taken advantage of.

I want to stress the fact that agencies may advertise that they are licensed and insured. Licensed by whom? License to operate a business is not the same as license to operate as a home care agency as home care agencies re governed by the Department of Health.

Be wary of unsupervised aides or aides that are not guided by a Plan of Care. Aides who constantly feed the patient without regard for nutritional needs against mobility issue can increase the senior’s weight unnecessarily, affect the strength of his/her knees. Aide created a problem of transferring issue. This is only one classic case of aides’ thinking they are doing good for the client they serve.

Whichever direction you go, I can only say, be careful and good luck.

Contributed by Jennie P. Smith

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *