If a family is looking for caregiving assistance for an elderly parent, they can either hire an independent caregiver or use one of the many agencies that provide home health services. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice often comes down to cost. But it is important to consider the full costs of care when making this decision. Costs include not just the hourly rate but also the intangible benefits like expertise, peace of mind, stress reduction and time.
Agencies that employ caregivers generally have several direct costs associated with hiring, training and managing their staff that are built into the rates they charge. These costs include ad costs, background checks and paid training for new hires. The agency will also need to maintain insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment coverage for their employees.
Caregivers employed by an agency are paid a salary plus overtime. They are also eligible for medical and vacation benefits. The agency is responsible for managing payroll and withholding taxes, whereas families who hire caregivers directly need to manage these tasks themselves or utilize a third-party payroll management service.
In addition to these payroll costs, an agency has overhead expenses for marketing, human resources, administration and other general business expenses. Families who hire caregivers directly must pay these same overhead expenses but will need to add the cost of worker’s compensation, unemployment and liability insurance for their employee (if applicable).
A family can save some money by using a referral agency that will refer caregivers who meet specific requirements. These agencies typically have a set fee for finding a suitable caregiver. But the family will still need to conduct a thorough screening process for the person being hired and be prepared to spend a lot of time interviewing and negotiating the job terms.
Whether you use an agency or hire independently, it is crucial to understand the caregiver’s duties and responsibilities. This will help ensure that your loved one gets the help they need and the caregiver is properly trained and supervised. Agencies can also help with this by supplying written job descriptions, listing what tasks are to be performed and providing sample ad copy that you can use to advertise for the position.
Another benefit of using an agency is that the agency will handle all the screening and hiring of a caregiver. This can be a huge relief for the family and can reduce the risk of having to deal with a difficult or inappropriate caregiving situation. A good agency will also provide ongoing support and supervision for the caregiver and can assist in resolving problems that may arise. It is also important to have open communication with your loved one and the agency so that any concerns are addressed quickly. caregiver agencies