In-Home Care: Risks of Hiring a Caregiver vs. an Agency

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A recent study revealed that the average cost of full-time, non-medical, in-home care in Arizona averages around $45,000 per year, based on 44 hours of care per week. As a result of this considerable expense, many are choosing to hire a caregiver directly rather than going through an agency.

All in all, there are several risks to consider before making a final decision on either route. If you’re leaning toward hiring your own caregiver directly, be prepared to address all the following tasks before allowing anyone in your home or caring for a loved one.

Personal Background 

Before hiring someone to assist in caring for your loved one, it’s important to conduct a thorough background check, including: a criminal background check, DMV and credit check, citizenship, and auto insurance verifications.

In addition, we recommend verifying the licensed caregiver’s current paperwork and credentials; requiring a TB test and reviewing their medical history; and ensuring they are certified in both first aid and CPR.

Competency

Once a candidate has passed all necessary background checks, it’s important to ensure the caregiver you’ve chosen has what it takes to make sure your loved one is safe, and is keeping up on the latest educational information pertaining to their field of care.

In addition, when hiring directly, there’s always the risk that the provider will become sick or injured, will need time off, or simply won’t show up for work.

In the event that this should happen, it’s recommended to have a list of screened, competent back-up caregivers who will be able to report for duty at a moment’s notice.

Taxes

The IRS holds individual employers responsible for paying Social Security and Tax form conceptunemployment taxes on the wages paid to an in-home caregiver.

If you fail to withhold these taxes, not only will you be liable for the total cost plus interest, but you could incur penalty fees of up to $100,000 and possible criminal charges.

Insurance

Before hiring an in-home caregiver, be sure to check their insurance policies.

Back strains and slip-and-fall injuries are common occurrences within home care, which is why your homeowner’s policy needs to be sufficient to cover such incidents.

It’s also important for the caregiver to hold their own malpractice policy in the event that they cause a life-threatening or fatal injury to your loved one.

They should also have a bond for repayment of any and all household items they could possibly damage or break.

 

Hiring an Agency

When hiring an agency to handle the in-home care of your loved one, the agency assumes all risks regarding background checks, competency, taxes and insurance. This removes the stressful process of hiring a caregiver from your list of duties, and allows you to focus your time and energy solely on your loved one. Agencies also have on-call staff in the event that the primary caregiver is unavailable.

Are you considering hiring in-home care for yourself or a loved one? We’re here for you.