The Benefits of Hiring a Caregiver Through an Agency
When a loved one gets to the point when they are no longer able to live on their own without assistance, seeking a reputable and qualified caregiver is the next step. While some may believe that it is easier and less expensive to find an independent experienced and reliable caretaker for senior home care in San Jose, there are many reasons why that is not the best idea.
There are a variety of problems that can arise from hiring someone to come into your senior loved one’s home, from tax and legal issues to safety concerns and scheduling availability. A reputable home health agency can provide a San Jose caregiver who you can be assured will take care of your loved one in a professional and respectful way.
Professional home health agencies perform extensive background checks on caregivers, and some states even require them by law. The background check looks for criminal records and any red flags that may indicate a problem that could jeopardize your loved one’s safety. California law prohibits an agency from hiring an applicant with a criminal background unless the applicant obtains an exemption from the state.
Potential caregivers provide their name, address, and Social Security numbers, and the agency generally submits the information to a background investigation entity or program. While some states also run fingerprints to ensure names match with the information the caregiver has provided, not all do.
Minor traffic violations don’t disqualify a candidate normally, but any driving history that indicates a history of unsafe driving is noted and taken into account. Credit histories are also checked, and some agencies may reject a candidate based on the information received.
Reputable home health agencies will provide you information on their background check process and include what checks they run their applicants through. Some agencies will also provide you with statistics as to what percentage of applicants make it through their screening process, which is a good indication of their hiring standards.
Here are some additional screenings that may be performed:
- Assessment of applicant’s physical capabilities
- Knowledge of HIPAA regulations
- Hands-on training for transferring patients, fall prevention certification, and basic health and safety training
- Nutrition training
- Tuberculosis testing or chest X-ray
Some agencies hire only experienced applicants. In California, home health aides complete a state-approved training program and are certified by the state if they are successful. These trained individuals are then considered to be qualified to perform hospice and senior care in San Jose and anywhere else in the state. For those who are not certified, applicants should be able to show verifiable past employment that ensures they have the practical experience to care for seniors and hospice patients.
Ask the caregiver agency for the credentials for those who will potentially be performing home care in San Jose for your loved one. The agency should be up front, honest and open with information about the person who will have access to your loved one.
Taxes and Worker’s Compensation
Some home health and caregiver agencies are employment agencies who contract with the worker, while others employ them. The best option is to choose an agency that pays all payroll taxes, Social Security, and healthcare payments, and who hires caregivers as employees, not contracted workers. These employees are usually bonded and insured by the agency, but you should always verify that with the agency before signing up with them. The agency is responsible for following all state and federal labor laws and regulations.
Should you choose to hire a caregiver on your own, you may have issues with his or her flexibility and availability. If your caregiver becomes ill or be unavailable to care for your family member as expected, their absence can cause you a significant inconvenience.
When you hire a caregiver through an established agency, your elder may have a regularly scheduled caregiver, but if he or she is unable to fulfill the required schedule for any reason, the agency will have another qualified, fully screened caregiver come take over the care of your loved one as needed.
For those who have a variable schedule that changes frequently, it may be challenging to find a caregiver who can be available when you need them. An agency can work with you to ensure you have care for your loved one when you need it that is available 24/7.
Not all caregivers perform the duties you require. Some independent caregivers may agree to physical lifting and transferring patients from a bed to wheelchair and vice versa, others will not. There are those who will do light housekeeping but refuse to do any cooking.
A full-service home care provider will be able to meet your needs when it comes to caring for your senior family member. Whether you need a competent caregiver who can perform transportation duties, someone who can handle lifting and transporting throughout the day, or someone to serve as a companion and ensure your loved one takes his or her medications as prescribed, an agency will have a professional to provide the services you need to keep your elder comfortable and safe.
Communication and Compatibility
It’s important that you have an open communication with both the agency and the caretaker. The agency is responsible for ensuring that the home care worker is performing as he or she should and that if you have any concerns, they are addressed quickly and professionally. You have a right to observe the caretaker’s interactions with your loved one, and if you don’t feel he or she is performing adequately, to ask for a replacement. In a private hire, it is a much more complicated and time-consuming process to let a caregiver go. You’ll be forced to start from scratch, repeating the screening and hiring process again.
Not all caretakers will connect with your elder. Some agencies offer a compatibility guarantee and make every effort to match your loved one with someone who they can connect with and whom you can trust. But if there is a compatibility issue, the agency will have the experience to deal with the problem and offer a more suitable candidate for you to consider.
Learn more about the 24 Hour Home Care® screening and hiring process on our website, along with more information about our policies and available services for professional home care in San Jose.