“Wouldn’t it be less expensive to hire a private caregiver?”
This, a valid question, is one that we are often asked during the initial inquiry phase. Having to pay for the care of a loved one is, at first, a foreign concept and many decision makers unconsciously default to seeking the lowest cost option. But for a service as personal as assisted living, additional factors should be considered.
Though a less-expensive alternative in dollars, there are a number of potentially costly risks associated with private hires. We all hope those who profess to be caregivers pursue their role faithfully, but some have destructive motives hidden under the position’s good name. Working with an agency mitigates the risk of encountering these individuals as all agency caregivers are subject to rigorous pre-employment screening including competency assessments, background checks, and drug testing.
A caregiver’s trustworthiness is not the only source of risk, though. Accidents, by their nature, are simply an unavoidable element of life; and private hires, by their nature, largely do not have the resources to mitigate or redress them. Working with hundreds of caregivers over many years affords home care agencies information on common accidents and methods of prevention—information passed along to all caregivers before entering homes. Private hires may have a heart to serve, but valuable information on how best to serve is lacking. And on the rare occasions when accidents do occur, agency caregivers are insured, protecting the client and their family from unnecessary financial strain. This benefit frequently does not accompany private hires.
Though few, trustworthy insured private caregivers are known to exist. But one risk remains that cannot be eliminated by an individual: the risk of availability. A primary goal of in-home care is to match clients with caregivers they enjoy. But like accidents–illness, unexpected moves to distant places, and time off occur beyond anyone’s control. If your loved one is dependent upon a caregiver, their sudden absence could prove harmful. Home care agencies ensure no gaps in service, should any of the aforementioned happen, with multiple caregivers ready and willing to step in. The loss of a private hire results in a quest for another, along with a time consuming re-assessment of all their associated risks.
Private hires, though perhaps carrying a lower hourly cost, come with a host of unnecessary risk. Home care agencies exist to eliminate as much of this risk as possible and protect you from the rest. When it comes to care for someone you love, peace of mind is present not at the lowest cost, but by the highest quality.