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Serving Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Schuyler, Rock Island, and Warren Counties.

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How to Deal with a Loved One That Refuses Needed Support There Really Is No Place like Home Home Care 101 Risks of Hiring a Private Caregiver HOME

I work a lot with families who are trying to make decisions about care for their loved ones. From time to time some families I work with think they will save money if they hire someone privately rather than go through an agency. It is true that a private person may charge a lower hourly rate but there comes some risks and inconveniences with this that you do not have with a licensed agency.  

Think about the last time you had a construction project or work done in or around your home. You wouldn’t hire someone who is not licensed, bonded, and who comes without recommendations, would you? If you did, you would run the risk of exploitation and poor work quality and no supervision or management to take your concerns to. The same risks apply to home care services.  


It is estimated that between one and two million Americans over the age of 65 have been abused. This includes exploitation, injury, and mistreatment by a loved one or caregiver. Coupled with the rising opioid epidemic, I expect to see this number increase. People will advertise and market themselves as private caregivers for this specific population in order to get into homes of elderly patients because these patients often are prescribed these medications. They may also target home care as a way to steal valuables and gain trust and access to finances. Of course, not all private caregivers have ill intentions but there is a risk you take if you do not go through an agency who interviews and does appropriate background checks before pairing caregivers with families in need of our services.  


The best way to ensure that you or a loved one does not get taken advantage of or abused is to have good communication with the caregivers. This is easily achieved with an agency with supervisory oversight or through a senior care management model. This provides professional management in the home to the caregivers assigned to client’s care. The senior care manager is involved in the hiring and training of the caregivers and does regular supervision visits in the home and communicates with families on the care plan and client’s needs. This allows families to have peace of mind even when they may be out of town.  


There is also the stress of managing the schedule of private caregivers. If you choose to not use a licensed agency for care, you are responsible for scheduling and if they decide to call off or do not show up, you can be left with no care. Through an agency, there is a pool of caregivers and on-call staff to provide back up when caregivers can’t fulfill their shift.  


There is also taxes and liability to think about. When you hire someone privately, it is your responsibility to withhold and pay taxes. You also run the risk of them getting injured while working for you. Often elderly clients need hands on care which needs to be done in a safe manner to avoid the caregiver or client being injured. If you choose to go through a licensed agency they are required to handle the taxes, provide the insurance, and the necessary training of staff to meet your needs safely in your home.  


If you or someone you know is thinking of hiring care in their home, please call Western Illinois Home Health Care at 800-228-5993. Do not let your loved one be at risk for added stress. Western Illinois Home Health is a full-service provider with a Senior Care Management model of care to assess and customize an appropriate plan of care for our clients.  


Amanda Powell, MSW is Director of Client Services for Western Illinois Home Health Care

January 2010

by Amanda Powell

Working With a Licensed Home Care Agency Protects You and Your Loved One

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