Senior Living: Benefits of using a caregiver agency

By Rhonda Kay Leonard

80-90% of all caregiving is provided by non-paid family members. Yet, when a loved-one’s needs increase, family caregivers need support. The big question is where to turn for help. As individuals and families consider hiring formal help, they need to make a critical decision: to hire a private caregiver, or to hire a caregiving agency. Here are some reasons to consider working with licensed agencies:

Caregivers who are employees of licensed agencies can be expected to follow the best practices in the industry. The Oregon Health Authority sets standards for care, and reviews licensed agencies to be sure standards are being followed. Private caregivers may or may not follow best practices.

Agencies interview, background check and drug screen potential caregivers. These tasks are important and time consuming. Clients who hire private workers must complete these tasks on their own, and sometimes take shortcuts.

Agencies provide backup support should one’s caregiver be unable to work for any reason. As the saying goes, “life happens”. Caregivers take vacations, experience injuries and have family members who get sick like everyone does on occasion. Agencies create contingency plans for handling situations like these. Families who hire private caregivers have fewer resources.

Problems or concerns with a caregiver are resolved through a manager or supervisor in licensed agencies. The care-recipient is relieved of uncomfortable conversations. Licensed agencies also train and coach their employees to success whenever possible. Without this administrative support, the client is left alone to handle problems or concerns.

Agencies cover their caregivers with workers’ compensation insurance. Individuals and families that hire a private caregiver take the risk of an on-the-job injury upon themselves.

Agencies carry liability insurance that protects all parties, including the client, from loss. Most private caregivers do not purchase a liability insurance policy.

Employers are required to pay payroll taxes. Agencies absorb this cost for all caregiving employees. Individuals and families who hire private caregivers stand in the role of “employer” and are responsible for all employer-side taxes.

There are many benefits of working with a licensed caregiving agency.

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