Columbia SC Home Care and the Challenges and Dangers of Hiring a Caregiver Privately

a post about Care ProgramQuality Program | March 23, 2015

There are many Columbia SC home care options when seeking care for yourself or a loved one.  We regularly field phone calls from families and seniors who have hired a caregiver privately and difficulties arose. On one such occasion we were contacted from a senior who was not able to get the caregiver she hired through a popular website to leave her home. We also recently encountered a senior who was afraid to confront her caregiver who was not performing her duties.

In many instances the rationale for hiring a caregiver privately is driven by costs. However, there are many hidden aspects of hiring a caregiver privately that people should be aware of prior to making this very important decision.   A 2014 article written in the Mercury Seniors highlighted the legal ramifications of hiring a caregiver privately.

We’ve put together a short list of some of the requirements you should consider before hiring privately:

  • Hiring a caregiver privately means that caregiver is an employee of you or your parent. This means you are responsible for withholding social security and Medicare taxes. Failure to do so could result in severe penalties.
  • Workers Compensation-injuries can and often occur to caregivers while on the job. In fact injuries to privately hired caregivers is most likely the greatest risk to you or your parents. Have you asked, what happens if a privately hired caregiver is injured while in your home? Do you have sufficient insurance in place to cover any hospital or related injuries that occur while they are working for you?
  • Automobile insurance: Are you covered if they are driving their vehicle while working for you? What happens in the event of an accident that occurs?
  • Unemployment Claims: What happens if you discharge your caregiver and they file for unemployment?
  • Is there a sufficient backup plan in place if the caregiver calls in sick? What if they quit unexpectedly?
  • Is there sufficient oversight of the caregivers duties to ensure that you are your parent are getting the care needed? This is especially important for vulnerable seniors who may have Alzheimer’s/ Dementia and family members not readily available to oversee care.
  • Formal and ongoing training of the caregiver is also an important aspect to consider

Reputable, licensed home care agencies are responsible for training, supervision and oversight of their caregivers. If you decide to utilize the services of a licensed home care agency, search for an agency that classifies their caregivers as employees as opposed to independent contractors. This gives the agency more oversight and control concerning not only training but managing the caregivers schedule and the performance of their duties while in your home.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of using a licensed home care agency:

  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are monitored by state licensing agencies. In South Carolina the Department of Environmental Control is responsible for licensing and monitoring in home care agencies.
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are responsible for conducting criminal background checks, driving records, references, physicals and TB tests for all caregivers and employees.
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are responsible for the payroll and tax obligations of their caregivers and employees
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are required to meet the initial and on-going training standards as set forth by the state in which they are licensed
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are required to maintain workers compensation insurance in accordance to state law
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies are required to maintain insurance in the event of a theft or damage to their clients property
  • Licensed Columbia SC home care agencies often have backup personnel in place in the event your caregiver calls out sick or can’t make their shift
  • If you have a complaint or concern about your caregiver, the agency can help resolve the matter. If the licensed home care agency is not able or willing to resolve the matter, you can contact the state licensing authority to file a complaint against the agency

Already HomeCare is licensed by the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control to provide home care in Charleston SC and Columbia SC. If you have questions about the services and benefits of using our services, contact our home care team today in Charleston at 843-371-1419 and Columbia at 803-334-3477!



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