Home Care 101

Most people don’t think much about in home care until the need arises. The number of choices can seem overwhelming.  Should you find someone to care for your loved one on your own?  Use a placement service? Or hire an agency?

Before you decide to hire a “friend of a friend”, which may cost slightly less per hour, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you prepared to place ads, interview candidates, call references, and conduct criminal  background checks?
  • What if your caregiver calls in sick, or has their own personal emergency?
  • How will you know whether a candidate has the right training and skills?
  • Have you calculated the cost of the legally required employer payroll taxes, including Social Security, Medicare,and unemployment?
  • Did you know that you must pay these taxes even if you use a placement service or nurse registry?
  • Will you provide workers’ compensation in case the caregiver gets hurt on the job?
  • Are you ready to supervise and resolve misunderstandings that may arise?
  • What is the backup plan if your caregiver quits?

What is the difference between a home care agency and a registry?

A registry is an employment agency that, for a fee, will refer a caregiver to you. However, you are the employer and assume full responsibility for this caregiver. You’ll be responsible for things like paying Social Security, unemployment taxes and Worker’s Compensation insurance. Some placement agencies offer an a-la-carte fee schedule, charging additional fees for things like supervising the caregiver.

In contrast, an agency like North River Home Care, that directly employs home care professionals, assumes all of these responsibilities and administrative costs.

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