The biggest proportion of people who utilize home health aide/caregiver services are those who need several hours per day of assistance, as opposed to those who need full-time care.
Due to the cost and the increasing shortage of caregivers, many families seeking to hire in-home staff turn to private individuals rather than working through an agency. While at first glance this seems reasonable, it can also cause numerous problems and create unexpected liabilities for the family, who becomes the employer.
As a private employer, the individual or family is required to pay Social Security, unemployment and payroll taxes. Many home health aides/caregivers will represent themselves as independent contractors, ostensibly relieving the hiring individual of these tax obligations. If the aide has not met his or her tax obligations, this responsibility falls to the employer. As the employer, the individual or family paying for the private caregivers would be held liable for any work-related injury that occurs on the job. If the home caregivers were to cause an accident, for example, in which other family members suffered any harm or losses, the employer would bear the full responsibility for all costs and compensation.
A home care agency has a responsibility to provide ongoing supervision for their employees. This includes helping the aides to understand the changing needs of clients, assuring the proper limits of care according to the practice acts of the various levels of professionals, and mediating difficult relationship issues.
Providing supervision is often as important for the aide as it is for the family. Caregivers often work with very challenging situations in the isolation of the private home situation. An agency supervisor can help to clarify the roles of the caregivers, and the expectations of both worker and care recipient. Furthermore, the agency can support the aide in setting appropriate limits on the types of care that can be provided.
The employer, whether it is a private individual or an agency, has a great deal of responsibility in hiring and managing a caregiver. When a family is ready to hire home caregiver services, they need to make a basic decision about the source of such assistance.