Directly Hiring a Caregiver to Save Money? Know ALL the Risks and Costs Before Doing So. (Pt. 1) By Dave Hildebrandt, Executive Director of MD Home Health/MD Home Assist
A recent study revealed that the cost of full time non-medical home care will average $45,000 per year in the state of Arizona (based on 44 hours of care per week). Given this, the tendency for some families will be to try to and economize by directly hiring a care giver to save money, rather than going through an agency. This is a classic example of the phrase “penny wise, pound foolish”. Before taking this step, it is important that the consumer or family be aware of all the risks and costs associated with directly hiring a caregiver to save money.
There are basically two areas that a family must address when directly hiring a caregiver to save money: the caregiver’s personal background and clinical skills, and the administrative costs of taxes and insurance.
The first part to consider is the steps involved in conducting a background verification of a caregiver. Once you have identified a potential candidate, which in and of itself is not always easy, you will need to interview them, run a criminal background check, credit and DMV check, verify their citizenship, their automobile insurance, and their list of references. Also, if they are licensed (CNA or RN/LPN), you will want to know if their license is current, in good standing, and if there has ever been any disciplinary action taken against them. Finally, you will want to be sure they have no communicable diseases, specifically TB, and have taken First Aid and have a current CPR training certification.
Should all of the background verification go smoothly, you will then need to be able to determine the actual competency of the caregiver, especially if you are requiring special skills that will be needed to provide the care. Are you qualified to do this? Do you really want to use your loved one to test their competency?
And finally, suppose your direct-hired caregiver is sick, wants a day off, gets injured or simply doesn’t show for work. Will you be prepared with a list of qualified and trained alternate caregivers who will report on a moment’s notice?
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