Saturday, August 22, 2009

Home Health Aide Can Be Critical To Insuring Proper Care

Taking care of the everyday needs of a loved one who is mentally or physically disabled is very stressful. Many people in this position decide to try to do it all themselves but end up relying on other family members to fill in the gaps. Over time, family caregivers very often reach a point where they know they must find outside help.Should you contact a local home care agency? Or, should you hire a home health aide privately? Many people are reluctant to use a home care agency because they think the cost is higher than hiring someone on their own.This article will focus on many of the important factors you should consider when choosing whether to use an agency or hire privately. Your decision may have unintended consequences. There is really a lot more at stake than just how much it will cost.Legal IssuesIf you hire someone, they are your employee. You must comply with laws dealing with immigration and naturalization, income tax, Social Security and Medicare tax, unemployment tax, and workers compensation insurance. A home care agency has procedures in place for these matters.Medical SupervisionHome health aides complete a six to eight week certification program. Dealing with medical and health issues requires much more training than could possibly be offered in these programs. Having a nurse from a home care agency supervise the home health aide can be critical to insuring proper care.Continuing EducationOnce a home health aide has completed a certification program, there is no requirement for ongoing training. When a home health aide works for a home care agency, there are mandatory classes in such areas as infection control, recognizing potential problems and patient safety.Background ChecksThe personal history of someone applying for a job as a home health aide is very important. What is their previous experience? What do their references say about them? Is there any criminal record in this person's past? Home care agencies have trained human resources personal to deal with these questions.Health ScreeningAre you prepared to have someone go for a pre-employment physical examination to be sure they are able to perform the work? How will you do yearly TB testing? Drug testing? For a home care agency these are ordinary processes.ReplacementsNo one can work every single day without fail. What happens when the home health aide calls out sick? Wants a day off or vacation? Pregnancy leave? What if the home health aide just quits? What if there are personality conflicts? A home care agency can insure continuous, uninterrupted service.InsuranceWhat if household items are damaged or missing? (Bonding) What happens if the home health aide hurts someone? (Liability) Gets hurt on the job? (Workers Compensation) Gets sick? (Health Care) A home care agency is set up to handle all of these issues.Whatever decision you make, make an informed decision. Try to weigh what you see as the cost against each of the above factors. What would it cost to be involved in a workers compensation problem? What would happen if there was a time delay in getting a replacement for a caregiver? What if you unknowingly hired someone with a criminal background?Before I became an elder law and estate planning attorney, I was a physical therapist for many years. During those years as a physical therapist, many of them were spent in the home care field. I have a great deal of experience in this area. So, if you or someone you know needs help deciding weather to hire a home health aide privately or through a home care agency call me at my office (203) 488-5586.--About the

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