Do you know what the unseen liabilities are of hiring a caregiver directly, rather than through a home care agency?

Let’s say that your parents have reached a point where they have troubles with everyday activities. You may think to hire someone directly, but the problem with this is that you could be leaving yourself open to legal liabilities. The advantage of going through an agency is that while you will pay more for it, the health aide will have insurance that protects you from legal matters.

In this article, we will discuss in-home care, how to find the right home care, and questions to ask when looking for a caregiver.


What is In-Home Care?

Caregivers within the home will provide healthcare and do some of the housekeeping tasks around the home. What does it mean to have someone in the house to “help.” Taking care of someone on your own will start to take a toll on you. That’s why having licensed home care through an agency. The agency should do a criminal background check to ensure that the person in charge will take full responsibility for it.


How to Look for Quality In-Home Care

In most cases, we don’t recommend going through a freelance caregiver.

The problem with a freelance caregiver comes from how sometimes they don’t carry liability insurance. This means that if they get injured on the job, your parents could be on the hook for paying workers compensation. With the agency, the hiring process involves thorough background checks. If they’re going to provide your loved one with long term care, you need a health aide that you can trust. The hiring process should involve a thorough checking of the person to ensure that they will be a good match for your loved one.

When considering someone as a caregiver, you should look to see that their personality matches with the person that they will be taking care of. You want them to be as good of a match as possible. They should be able to cater to special requirements. You should also look for someone who has a fair amount of experience in this field. Only experienced licensed home care providers will have the ability to help in an adequate way because they have worked in this field for a long time.


Questions to Ask When Hiring a Caregiver

Knowing some of the questions to ask when you go to hire a caregiver can help you to determine if they will be the right choice for your loved one. Here are some of the questions that you may want to ask your caregiver.

Do you have a criminal record? Right up front, you should ask them if they have any types of violations on their criminal record. Background checks are so important when it comes to hiring someone because you want to ensure that you have hired the right person for the job.


Do you have liability insurance? In the event that the caregiver was injured on the job, you want to make sure that they have liability insurance. Have them show the card to you, and take it one step further by calling this insurance company to ensure that they have insurance. You don’t want to deal with the legal liabilities if something were to go wrong.


Do you have a driver’s license? In addition to this question, you should ask them if they have reliable transport and if they have insurance.


How far away do you live? For the services rendered, if your loved one has any problems, the closer that the caregiver lives, the better.


Will you sign an agreement that you won’t allow guests into the home without my given approval? This is important because in the past, some people have abused this system in independent caregiving, and they weren’t careful, nor did they act professionally. You don’t want strangers allowed in the home without tight control over this.


Will you sign a contract that you will not accept gifts from my loved one without getting approval from me first? This may sound somewhat cold, but in the past, independent caregiving professionals have abused the system where they would trick the elderly into giving them lots of “gifts.” This could be tens of thousands of dollars later that you realize it, which is why it is so important to put this into the contract. You do not want the caregiver to ever take advantage of your loved one, and if they’re in a vulnerable state, it could happen with an unscrupulous individual. An honest caregiver would never have a problem with this because they understand how the system works and how it has been abused in the past.


Have you ever cared for someone with my loved one’s condition? For example, have they ever cared for someone experiencing memory problems or someone with cancer? Getting someone who has experience with this type of care can be incredibly helpful. Even if it happens to be someone who has non medical home care needs, they may have a need for it eventually.


Do you accept Medicare? One of the most important questions that you can ask, you should first see if they accept Medicare because you want to see that they cover these things. Even for non medical home care, you want to see if they will accept Medicare because not every agency will accept it.


Do you smoke? It might sound somewhat nitpicky, but you don’t want to hire someone who will worsen your loved one’s condition. For example, if they have a respiratory illness, you want to be sure that all parties are in agreement.


What to Ask a Home Care Agency When Looking to Hire a Caregiver through Them?

You might ask them many of the questions already outlined, but you do have a couple of other questions that you can ask to gauge how good the agency is. First, make sure that they pay workers compensation so that you won’t be on the hook if the caretaker gets injured. In most cases, they will take care of the payroll taxes. This classifies as private pay, and private pay gets covered through the agency.

Do you pay under the table? This becomes your first warning sign because the agency you go through shouldn’t have any tax withholdings or where they’re trying to hide something. If they’re willing to skirt the laws with under the table pay, you don’t even know what kind of other shady things that they might do outside of not paying income tax. It’s extraordinarily important to make sure that the agency you go through will have the utmost integrity when it comes to social security and income tax.


Can I speak with the caregiver? Before you agree to long term care for a loved one, you should first ask to speak with the caregiver who will be in charge of taking care of your loved one. You want to ensure that the services rendered will be of the highest quality possible.

You want all parties to feel happy in the end of the interaction. In addition, you want to make sure that you don’t unnecessarily expose your loved one to liability issues. To pay for in-home care, you might choose the route of payable equity where you use the home equity line as the payable equity. Hiring an in-home care professional who works independently can have a dramatic impact on your tax withholdings. This is why people choose the other route because they don’t have to worry about the payroll taxes. In that case, the agency covers the social security and other things. It makes more sense over the long term to go with this option because you don’t have to worry about it on your taxes.