There have been many discussions on the safety risks of hiring non-agency caregivers (private-hires). Indeed, families who opt to secure their own workers side-step the normal HR protocols used to vet home care candidates. However, another often-overlooked consideration is that of “logistics.”
Senior home care agencies help to ensure reliable service thanks to abundant caregiver resources. It’s the old saying about not having all of your eggs in one basket. Essentially, families who hire independent caregivers are betting that they’ve found a “perfect fit.”
Here are logistical considerations that should weigh heavily into any private-hire vs. agency decision.
Most home care clients establish regular schedules for their caregivers, and many workers expect some sort of routine. It’s very hard for aides to assist as-needed, given normal life circumstances. But families sometimes have emergency caregiving needs too.
What happens if a family member normally cares for “Mom” on the weekends but is leaving town one Saturday for a graduation ceremony? There’s a chance her private-hire weekday caregiver isn’t available to accommodate. After all, she may have her own family and obligations. There may also be legal considerations relating to labor laws.
Essentially, home care agencies afford greater staffing flexibility. While most clients still have “regular” caregivers, the company enjoys other human resources who can fill-in at a moment’s notice.
Even reliable workers are still bound by the realities of being human. Nobody is a robot, and emergencies happen from time-to-time. A great private-hire caregiver may need to call-off of her shift due to unforeseen circumstances.
Reputable home care agencies can usually secure fill-in caregivers. However, families who rely on private-hires will have to take matters into their own hands or risk having their aging loved-one left unaccompanied. It’s very challenging to find a replacement aide in a pinch!
Caregiver Life Events
In addition to occasional call-offs due to personal emergencies, home care aides sometimes find that bigger life-events hinder their ability to care for clients. There are a variety of circumstances that can leave families without their trusted helper.
Some caregivers return to their home countries to visit ailing relatives and may be gone for months or years on end. Others may suffer their own health problems or have a change in career pursuits.
Caregiver Performance & Accountability
Issues of caregiver job performance may seem separate from “logistics,” but really the two are very connected. Human nature suggests that most people perform better and more reliably when working under the umbrella of accountability. Simply put, private-hire caregivers have very little accountability.
Even if family members provide oversight and monitor job performance, private-hire caregivers still know they have the upper-hand. After all, how can they be terminated if there’s no replacement? Surely the client can’t be left alone. Home care agencies keep tabs on caregivers’ quality of care, but they also provide the implicit threat of replacement for poor performance.
It would be unfair to suggest that families never find great private-hire caregivers for their aging loved-ones. Many independent home care aides are great and genuinely care for their clients’ well-being! However, it’s also naïve to ignore the logistical deficiencies of non-agency workers. Reputable home care companies provide accountability and contingency plans that ultimately provide a safety net for seniors in need.
If you’re reviewing senior care options for an aging family member or friend, be sure to review Bakersfield’s most trusted home care agency today!