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Monmouth, IL 61462

Copyright © 2014          Western Illinois Home Health Care, Inc.          All rights reserved

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

Top Articles From Our Blog:

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

The aging population is growing fast, nursing home costs are very high, and people desire to stay in their homes as long as possible. It is no surprise that in-home caregivers are in high-demand, making it possible for people with physical or cognitive impairments to safely remain in their home.

I am regularly asked why a family should go with our agency rather than hire a private worker.  “It would be a lot cheaper” is a common concern. Objectively, I always explain to them the risk and benefits of both options.  However, there really is a lot of risk with hiring a private worker, and it is extremely important for seniors and their families to be aware of them.  

Most private caregivers would be considered an employee of the senior who is hiring them.  Most private caregivers do not meet the criteria to claim they are an independent contractor. This means that the senior receiving the service would be responsible for withholding and paying all relevant state and federal employee taxes.  If you choose to hire a caregiver and pay them “under the table”, you take the risk of penalties and fines if the Internal Revenue Service conducts an audit. This also means that the senior receiving services in their home is liable for any work-related injuries to the private caregiver. This is a high-risk area because in-home caregivers are often assisting with bathing, transferring, and other duties that may require lifting. There are also risks associated with communicable diseases, if the private caregiver isn’t trained on proper precautions.

Exploitation and boundary issues are also risks with hiring a private caregiver. It is unlikely that a senior or their family will do a formal background or criminal check.  Some may do a reference check, but those aren’t always reliable. The risk is high for exploitation because the senior is essentially allowing a stranger into their home. The in-home caregiver is often providing one to one care, a relationship forms, and boundaries can easily get crossed. In some instances, the senior or their family is so relieved to have the help that they don’t recognize inappropriate behavior/requests by the in-home caregiver. Often times, families don’t realize their loved one has been taken advantage of until it is too late.

Lastly, the privately hired in-home care worker is just one person. This means if they call in sick, not available to provide more care or work longer hours, or quit the senior goes without services. In the case that a senior is hiring multiple private in-home caregivers, it may become overwhelming managing multiple schedules.  When working with a certified home care agency, they have a pool of in-home caregivers and can often provide a substitute in the case of a call off or with an unexpected need for more assistance. They also are the ones responsible for managing the scheduling of the services.   

A licensed home care agency, like Western Illinois Home Health Care, is regulated by the state. Part of this regulation is that the agency provides comprehensive training, supervision, and oversight to their employees. This means a supervisor visits the client’s home on a regular basis to check on the services provided and review the proper care plan. In-home caregivers are provided on-going training throughout the year on various topics related to the aging population and best practices for in-home care.  This oversight helps work through any issues between the worker and the client, watches for potential boundary and care violations and it also provides support and intervention for the senior and their families as care needs change.  

Western Illinois Home Health is a full-service provider with a license for in-home caregiving.  If you or someone you know is in need of assistance in their home, please call us at 1-800-228-5993.

Amanda Powell, BSW, is a Senior Care Manager at Western Illinois Home Health Care

Considering Hiring a Private Caregiver?  Know the Risks.

October 2015

by Amanda Powell