Archive for the ‘Hiring an Agency Caregiver’ Category

Hiring an Agency Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 12,312 Comments

Agencies bear the responsibility for recruiting, screening, background checks, reference checks, credential checks, hiring, firing, and salary negotiation. When choosing to hire an agency caregiver, the hiring process is mostly up to the agency. However, there are actions you can take to make sure the agency hires an appropriate caregiver for you or your loved one.

You should speak with the intake manager or coordinator about the details of your case. Make sure the agency completely comprehends exactly what you are looking for in a caregiver. You should be as specific as possible when discussing the situation. This will ensure that you or your loved one will be matched with a caregiver that possesses all of the qualities you value. You can also ask the intake manager or coordinator to personally interview the candidates before you make your final decision.

Interviewing an agency caregiver:

To begin the interview process, you must develop an interview format that you will use for each applicant you will be interviewing. Using the same format for all of the applicants will make it much easier to compare and contrast their answers. First, you will need to ask basic questions about work expectations and requirements. Here are a few examples:

• What type of qualifications do you have?
• Do you have a driver’s license, registration, and car?
• What types of diagnoses are you familiar with?
• What types of medications have you administered?
• What hours are you available?
• Are you available to spend the night?
• How many patients have you cared for?
• What other commitments do you have at this moment?
• Are you a legal resident?
• Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
• Is anything on your criminal record that would affect my decision to hire you?
• Do I have your permission to conduct a background check on you?
• Do I have your permissions to contact your references?
• What do you charge per hour?

After asking basic questions, you will then need to develop questions that will give you a better understanding of the applicants’ character and work ethic. These questions should prompt the applicant to provide specific examples and explanations. Examples of these types of questions include:

• Tell me a time you had to deal with a stressful situation and explain how you dealt with it.
• What are your strengths and weaknesses in a work environment? Give me examples.
• What do you like most/least about caregiving? Why?
• Why should I hire you?
• Tell me a time when you had to make a judgment call that did not coincide with the rules. How did this make you feel?
• What would you do in case of an emergency?
• Tell me a time when your emotions got the best of you.
• Do you have any questions that will help clarify the specific job requirements?

You will want to make sure that the agency caregiver is entirely clear on what the job requires. There should be no surprises later on. You may want to have a second opinion before hiring an agency caregiver. If it makes you feel more comfortable, ask a family member or friend to be a part of the interview process with you.

Once you or the agency has chosen an agency caregiver, give them a trial period. If things are not working out within the first month of their employment, express your concern to the agency and they will match you with another caregiver. It is common to go through several caregivers before finding one that is a perfect fit for you or your loved one.

Day-to-Day Management of your Agency Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 1 Comment

The home care agency will do most of the managing for you, so it is essential that you establish a line of communication with the agency’s management. You have already discussed the details of your situation and the agency should already comprehend what you need in a caregiver. However, if you experience any problems with your caregiver, you will need to communicate the problems with the agency’s management. Management will then make the changes where necessary. If there is a problem, do not wait to address your concerns to the agency’s management. If a problem does not get addressed, it will probably continue and could possibly get worse. Open communication with the agency’s management will prevent any unnecessary stress.

You also need to establish a line of communication with your caregiver. You should have a formal conversation with your caregiver every week to discuss what is going well and what needs improvement. Frequently communicating with your caregiver is a great way to ensure the success of your relationship. Your caregiver will feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing any of their concerns. During each weekly conversation, you should take notes and send them to the agency. This way, everyone involved will be entirely aware of any worries you may have.

Hiring an Agency vs. Private Caregiver

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | Comments Off

After assessing the patient’s situation, you must determine whether you want to hire a caregiver through an agency or hire a private caregiver. To make this decision, you must consider two things: management and payment.

• Management:

When hiring an agency caregiver, the agency bears responsibility for recruiting, screening, background checks, reference checks, credential checks, hiring, firing, salary negotiation, and day-to-day management of the caregiver. Without an agency, these responsibilities fall on you.

When it comes to paying the caregiver, an agency will pay wages, withhold taxes, and file required reports with the state and federal government. Without an agency, the care recipient or the family is held responsible for accomplishing these duties.

If an agency caregiver does not show up for his or her shift, the agency will provide a back-up caregiver. If a private caregiver does not show up for his or her shift, it may be difficult to find another caregiver on such short notice. Agencies will often provide training for caregivers, such as CPR and first aid training. This is not the case when hiring a private caregiver. If a caregiver has an accident or is injured on the job, an agency carries a policy covering the caregiver. Without the agency, the care recipient or the family must carry a policy covering the caregiver.

Private caregivers are often less expensive than an agency caregiver and you will have more freedom choosing the perfect caregiver for you or your loved one. If you choose to hire a private caregiver, however, you must consider all of the responsibilities you are accountable for. If you are not willing to take on these responsibilities, an agency caregiver may be a better option for you.

• Payment:

The cost of an agency caregiver ranges from $11-$30 per hour, while the cost of a private caregiver ranges from $8-$20 per hour.
Most agencies accept many forms of insurance for payment. If you wish to make payments with private insurance or Medicare for an acute condition, you must use an agency that accepts these types of insurance. If you wish to make payments with Medicaid or Long Term Care Insurance (LTC), you must also use an agency that accepts these types of insurance.

Private caregivers are often less expensive than agency caregivers, but they seldom accept insurance as a form of payment. The patient or the patient’s family will have to use their own money and assets to pay for care. To pay a private caregiver, you must ensure that they sign a conditional waiver and an unconditional waiver. A conditional waiver will prevent the private caregiver from claiming rights to your property. An unconditional waiver should be signed at every pay period and will prevent any disputes about payment in the future.

When it comes to withholding taxes and filing reports with the state and federal government, you must first complete Form W-9, Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification. You should keep this file in your records after completion. Then, you must complete Form 1099-MISC. This form will report your financial information, payment and due taxes, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Form 1099-MISC must be distributed to your private caregiver by January 31 of the year succeeding payment and to the IRS by February 28. Form 1099-MISC is only required if you expect to be paying your private caregiver more than $600 per year.

Assessing a Patient’s Situation

Posted in Articles, Hiring a Private Caregiver, Hiring an Agency Caregiver on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009 | 12,072 Comments

When assessing a patient’s situation, the first factor to consider is whether medical care, in-home care, or both are needed.

Medical care: A patient’s condition can be considered either acute or chronic. When a patient is expected to make a full recovery from an injury or medical condition, they have an acute condition. This condition can include:

 heart attack
 broken bones
 knee or hip surgery
 heart surgery
 mild stroke
 chemotherapy

These patients will require a high level of medical care in a short period of time to help their bodies heal and restore their normal function and independence. Medical care includes taking vital sign measurements, caring for wounds, monitoring healing progress, physical therapy (if applicable) to restore the patient’s ability to walk and move normally, and occupational therapy (if applicable) to restore the patient’s speech or fine motor skills. This level of medical care is short-term and may be needed anywhere from two to six months.

In-home care: When a patient is not expected to make a full recovery or if they are expected to be incapacitated in some way for the long-term, they have a chronic condition. This condition can include:

 Complications from a prior surgery or disease
 On-going conditions such as diabetes, COPD/emphysema, or glaucoma/blindness
 Progressive diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or ALS.

Their ability to ambulate (move by themselves) could be hindered. They may have difficulties remembering critical tasks for living. They may lose the physical capacity to keep house, prepare meals, bathe, clothe themselves, and pay bills. In these circumstances, the care focus shifts from medical care to in-home care. In-home care workers have less medical training and perform tasks that help compensate for the decreased independence brought on by chronic conditions. Because patients with chronic conditions are not expected to make a full recovery, in-home care will be needed for the long-term. When a patient has an acute condition that has developed complications and becomes chronic, in-home care will also be necessary.

Some patients do not have a specific medical condition but still need in-home care. If a patient experiences strain from daily tasks of living, are mildly forgetful, have difficulty moving, or experiences incontinence, in-home care is usually a great fit for allowing them to maintain independence for as long as possible.

After determining which type of care you or your loved one requires, you must decide whether part-time (1-4 times per week and 2-4 hours per day), full-time (5-8 hours per day, 5-7 days a week), or round-the-clock (24 hour) care is needed. The daily amount of care needed depends on the patient’s level of independence and if there are family members, friends, or others in the community who are available to help with care. The level of independence can be measured by the patient’s physical and mental capabilities.

Part-time: A patient will need part-time care if he or she is still able to walk and use the restroom independently, needs light assistance with bathing and dressing, needs help with vigorous tasks such as housekeeping or cooking, and is only occasionally forgetful. This type of patient is considered independent. If the patient has family members or close friends living with them, the level of independence is even stronger.

Full-time: A patient will need full-time care if he or she has some trouble walking and using the restroom independently, needs help with bathing and dressing, and forgets important things such as turning off appliances or electronics, location of house or car keys, and medication schedules. This type of patient is considered somewhat dependent. If the patient lives alone but has immediate family members and friends nearby, part-time to full-time care is suggested.

Round-the-clock: A patient will need round-the-clock care if he or she is physically incapacitated or bedridden, cannot use the restroom independently, cannot bathe or dress on his or her own, or is mentally incapacitated as in later stages of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. This type of patient is considered dependent. If a live-in family member can perform some of this care, the patient may only need full-time care. If there is no family member or close friend who can live with the person, round-the-clock care is required. It is recommended that 24 hours of care be broken into 2-3 shifts.