What are home care aides?
The in-home caregiver generally falls into one of three categories: personal care attendant; home health aide; certified nursing assistant.
Personal care attendants, or PCAs, assist with various household chores like cleaning, cooking, and possibly with shopping.
The home health aide will normally assist with activities of daily living (ADLs).
Whereas, the certified nursing assistant, or CNA, undergoes some medical training and have to pass an exam in order to be licensed. Often, a CNA will work alongside registered nurses.
There’s frequently an overlap with respect to the job descriptions of each of these caregivers.
Agency Versus Independent
You can hire a home care aide either through a classified ad or by word of mouth, which can prove to be the least expensive alternative. However, this may cause unexpected liabilities as the family become the legal employer. Thus, as an example, you as the family representative would be liable for any costs that may be incurred on account of an injury that is sustained during working hours, inclusive of medical expenses and payments for disability.
By hiring a contractor, this might not occur, though employing a “freelance” aide as opposed to an employee might not allow for a long-term solution to develop. Nevertheless, if you gain a strong endorsement or have a personal connection, self-hiring can prove to be a very good overall experience.
If you were to hire an in-home caregiver via an agency, the hourly rate is generally higher than otherwise, though the agency pays for liability insurance, FICA taxes, and they will deal with the W-2 and W-4 forms. Thus, the pricing works out fairly similar.
Furthermore, since agencies tend to employ numerous caregivers, you can, if you need to, try a few before opting for a particular one, given that you have a right of refusal with an agency. If things do not work out, the agency will replace the caregiver.
On the other hand, if your primary caregiver is on vacation or off sick, the agency will offer a substitute, which certainly provides for a lot of convenience.
Do bear in mind that agency-employed caregivers are insured and bonded, and they will have been trained in the basic care practices. Frequently, they’ll have prior training in first aid and CPR. They are expected to abide with company rules and ethics policies. Additionally, they could also have the backup of experienced nursing staff who are a provision of the agency.
If you are residing far away from where the care is required, or if you prefer not to be involved with any supervision of an in-home caregiver, the agency could prove to be a valid option for your needs.