Advantages of Home Care
Last year, over 20,000 Rhode Islanders utilized home care agencies for over 1,000,000 home care visits. This is because:
Home care agencies have staff with expertise in assessing client needs and developing care plans, usually at no cost to the client. The professional staff at a home care agency can help clients navigate through the web of health care resources and effectively communicate your needs and goals to physicians, hospital staff, and nursing home staff. Home care agency staff can also assist clients and their family with any emotional barriers and concerns about accepting home care services.
Advantages of Working with a Home Care Agency
After deciding that home care is the right option, consumers weigh their options of hiring a home care agency or contract directly with a home health aide or nurse. However, consumers should be aware of the following benefits of working with a home care agency versus the risks of a direct hire:
Employer Obligations: By hiring a home health aide or nurse directly, the individual consumer and their family takes on the responsibilities as their employer. This includes paying for the employee’s payroll taxes, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and liability. If the employee gets hurt during their time providing care or commuting to or from the individual’s home, it is the consumer that is legally and financially liable. Working with a home care agency alleviates the client of these responsibilities.
Peace of Mind: Unless the consumer does a criminal background check at their own expense, the consumer does not really know who is providing care in their home. Home care agencies are required to conduct thorough criminal background checks that provide more comprehensive data than available to the public prior to any home care agency employee stepping foot into a client’s home.
Security and Contingency: If a consumer’s direct hire harms or steals from the consumer, it is still the consumer that is liable. However, home care agencies are required to maintain various insurances to protect their clients and are required by law to promptly investigate all complaints of abuse or theft. Furthermore, home care agencies can provide a replacement without disruption of service if the home care agency employee gets sick, injured, or changes jobs.
Ongoing Training and Supervision: If the consumer has a direct hire, the consumer is responsible for continuous training and supervision. In contrast, home care agencies have the experience, knowledge, training, resources, and licensure to ensure that their employees are thoroughly trained in all services performed, including safe infection control, falls prevention, emergency preparation, and personal care tasks.