SHOULD I HIRE AN AGENCY OR A PRIVATE CAREGIVER?
When you hire through a home health agency, the agency is the employer, so you don’t need to worry about tax and liability issues. The agency takes care of screening the employees, doing background checks, and providing insurance. In addition a licensed home care agency must provide ongoing supervision to its employees. It can help the employees deal with difficult family situations or changing needs. The agency will also be able to provide backup if a regular caregiver is sick or on vacation. WA State agency caregivers must have a minimum of 75 hours of training, whereas a private caregiver may not have any formal training.
When you hire a caregiver directly, you need to consider all the tax and liability issues. As an employer, you are responsible for filing payroll taxes, tax forms, and verifying that the employee can legally work in the United States. In addition, a private caregiver will likely not carry his or her own liability insurance or workers’ compensation. If an accident occurs on the job, you would likely be liable.
WHO PAYS FOR HOME CARE SERVICES?
Home Care services are typically paid privately since Medicare and major health insurance companies will not pay for non-medical care. Long Term Care companies will pay for non-medical home care and usually require that the client requires help with at least 2 activities of daily living such as dressing, medication reminders, ambulation, etc. WA State also has a program called COPES, which is funded via Medicaid to those who qualify financially.
CAN HOME CARE AGENCIES ASSIST WITH MEDICATIONS?
Yes. As long as the client can put the medications in his/her own mouth, and is aware that he/she is taking medications, the caregiver can provide medication reminders and hand the medications to the client. If the client cannot self-administer, then medication administration can be nurse-delegated to a qualified caregiver by an RN.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOME CARE AND HOME HEALTH CARE?
Home Care services are typically paid privately since Medicare and Private duty home care agencies are companies that provide home care aides, companion care, and homemaker services for those who need in-home help due to issues concerning aging, illness, or disability. Private duty home care agencies may also provide private nursing or nurse delegation services. Client needs can run from difficulty in performing light housekeeping and meal preparation tasks to ambulation, transfer assistance, medication management, toileting, bathing, and dressing. Most private duty home care agencies also provide specialized Alzheimer’s/dementia care and can assist with comfort care and end-of-life care if the client is working with a Medicare certified hospice agency.
- Services Home Care Companies Provide
- Companionship & Life Enrichment
- Personal Care
- Light House Keeping
- Grocery Shopping & Meal Preparation
- Work in Tandem with Hospice & Palliative Care
- Respite Care
- Dementia & Alzheimers Care
- Medication Reminders
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech & Language Therapy
- Intravenous Therapy
- Ostomy Care
- Medication Management
- Would Care
- Physical Therapy
WHY SHOULD I DO BUSINESS WITH WAHCA?
Members of Washington Home Care Association are licensed by the Washington State Department of Health, employ trained and supervised caregivers, and assume all responsibility for payroll and all related taxes.
In addition, WAHCA member agencies:
- Screen potential caregivers and perform reference and background checks
- Only use caregivers who are employed by the agency directly not independent contractors
- Develop an individualized Plan of Care with input and approval from the client
- and family
- Have 24/7 on-call availability
- Monitor and supervise services and make regular visits to the home
- Have Standards of Ethics guidelines they have agreed to
- Caregivers from WAHCA member agencies are available to provide service to their clients from as little as a few hours a week to continuous around the clock care
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO SET UP HOME CARE?
An assessment is the first step in creating a long-term relationship of trust and care. Questions that will be asked:
- Personal background, hobbies & interests.
- What kind of help you would like?
- Current and past health information.
- Family contacts and physician information.
- We’ll also answer all of your questions about our home care services and take a walk through the home.
Questions You Should Ask Before You Decide:
Home care choices can be difficult and we realize there are several options available to you. To help you, the Washington Home Care Association recommends you ask the following questions of your prospective home care providers including:
- How do you recruit your caregivers?
- Should a scheduling conflict occur, are there trained backup caregivers?
- Are your caregivers bonded and insured?
- Are the caregivers employees of the provider and who handles payroll and required taxes for the caregiver?
- What type of background checks and screening do you do?
WHAT WA REGULATIONS ARE HOME CARE AGENCIES HELD TO?
In WA state home care agencies must be licensed by the Department of Health and they are audited/surveyed every 2 years to ensure compliance.
DOES MEDICARE COVER HOME CARE?
“Private duty” means private pay. In other words, no government or health insurance money is used for the cost of care. The most common methods for covering the cost of private duty home care is through long-term care insurance or out of pocket.
WHY SHOULD A CAREGIVER WANT TO WORK FOR A WAHCA COMPANY?
The Ethical Guidelines are intended to provide guidance to members of the Washington Home Care Association when making ethical decisions in business practice and service delivery.
Our Core Values
WAHCA members have adopted the following core values as they relate to providing private duty home care services.
- Members subscribe to treating employees with respect and dignity and will adhere to state and federal guidelines in their employment practices. They will foster an atmosphere free from intimidation, abuse, harassment and discrimination.
- Members will have written personnel policies available to all employees with ongoing supervision, support and evaluation of all employees.
WHY HIRE A HOME CARE AGENCY VERSES A PRIVATE CAREGIVER?
Home care choices can be difficult (and expensive) and we realize there are several options available to you. To help you, ask yourself some questions:
- Do I have the time and am I qualified to screen, interview, perform reference and background checks on a caregiver to work with a family member?
- Should a scheduling conflict occur, do I have qualified and reliable backup caregivers in place?
- Am I comfortable with a caregiver who is not supervised, bonded and insured?
- Am I able to provide all the caregiver direction and supervision my family needs 24/7?
- Do I have the knowledge, resources, and time to handle payroll and required taxes for the caregiver?
- Background checks
- Formal training
- Back-up caregivers
- Regular evaluations
- Ongoing training
- Liability insurance
- Worker’s compensation