When deciding to hire a caregiver for your elderly loved one, it is essential that you are doing your research and getting informed about the risks and benefits of hiring a caregiver through an agency or hiring them privately.
Insurance and Legality
When hiring a private caregiver, you are responsible as the employers to have updated and comprehensive insurance for them as your employee, and their working environment, your home. You have to have insurance for their workplace safety if there was an accident. They will be working in a physically demanding job where injury could happen, such as hurting their back while lifting your elderly loved one in and out of bed, chairs, or showers. You would have to register with WSIB and take on the responsibility of their safety yourself.
If you hire through a home care agency, they will take that responsibility on and support their employee which keeps you from being liable to their injuries. As well, home care agencies do extensive hiring procedures, such as vulnerable sector check, character reference checks and insightful interview questions, to ensure the employees they are hiring are reputable and dependable. They also take on the legal responsibility for the character of their employees.
So in the case of employee theft or home damages, they have insurance in order to support you and reimburse you the cost of those damages. However, if you were hiring privately, you must take responsibility for the extensive hiring process, and have insurance in case of theft or damages as you would be legally responsible. Also, if there is an issue with injury, theft or damages which would cause your private caregiver to leave work, you would have to start the hiring process all over again, whilst if you were with an agency, they would be able to quickly send you a replacement reputable caregiver.
Payroll & Taxes
When you hire a private caregiver you enter into an employee/employer relationship. And with that comes the responsibility of banking, payroll and taxes. You must keep an inventory of working hours, overtime, salary, taxes withholding and reporting. You would have to take responsibility for creating a CRA account and doing thorough banking and taxes with the government. However, if you hire through a home care agency, your responsibility is through an employee/client and you would be paying the set hourly wage to the agency who would do the bankroll and taxes for you.
Quality of Care
As they are working with a vulnerable population, a caregiver is held to high standards of care. A caregiver is expected to be dependable, compassionate, capable and personable. A caregiver must be proficient in personal care, household care, health care and emotional care. Depending on the job requirements, they may also have to have basic medical training, such as first aid and reminding to take routine medicine, or extensive medical training such as injecting medicine, physical therapy or other specialized treatments. In order to get the best caregiver for your elderly loved one, you must either perform the extensive hiring process for each candidate, then assist in the introduction period and hope that the caregiver is the right fit for your needs, or else you must start the whole process again. However, if you hire through a home care agency, you are able to choose from a number of certified and vetted caregivers, and if you need a new match, you are able to request a new caregiver. This allows for a more seamless transition and does not further disrupt your loved ones routine by leaving a gap between caregivers.
Your elderly loved one deserves the highest quality of care, and you deserve to have a caregiver that allows you more time to yourself, not less. By choosing a home care agency, you are likely getting the best care available, without the added stress and costs of payroll, taxes, insurance and hiring procedures.