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Agency vs Private Caregivers -- Why it matters

February 10, 2017

Let's face it -- deciding to hire someone to care for your loved one in their home is a daunting task. While you want them to continue to be comfortable in their own home, you wonder about their safety. And, of course, you wonder about who you can actually trust to provide their care. Realistically, not everyone can care for their elderly loved ones 24/7. Even if you are their primary caregiver, the fact is, you need a break from time to time. That's not being weak or insufficient -- it's being smart. You have to take care of you, too. Plain and simple. But where do you turn? Google? Craigslist?



Maybe you've heard horror stories about agency caregivers and you want to stay far away from that. But can you really trust someone who is working on their own? Who's taking care of the background check? Have they been tested for TB? If they're driving your parent/grandparent/spouse to appointments, who will check their MVR? 


Let's say they have the proper documentation for all of the above. Now the question is liability. If something happens, are they covered? For how much? What about the property? If they break something or steal something, how will you recover your losses? These are all important details you have to consider. 


Next, if you decide to hire a private caregiver, you need to figure out how to pay their social security and deduct their taxes. Or keep careful records of their pay so you can submit a 1099 at the end of the year. Lots of headaches and risks that could be avoided simply by hiring from a reputable, licensed agency in Pittsburgh.


Since 2009, all home care agencies in Pennsylvania must be licensed by the Department of Health. There are many reasons for this; primarily to protect consumers. Private caregivers are not licensed. Therefore, they do not have to meet the standards developed by the PA Dept. of Health that help to ensure that all persons being cared for in their homes are safe.


According to the My Learning Center website (sponsored by Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Long Term Living Training Institute of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Department of Aging), the purpose of licensing for in-home care is:

  • to protect and promote the public health and welfare

  • to assure safe, adequate, and effective home care

  • to promote the health, safety, and adequate care of consumers

  • to provide consumer protection by establishing oversight

  • to ensure physical health and competency of direct care workers

  • to fully involve the consumer in selecting how, where, and when home care services are received.

The bottom line? Protecting your loved one.


At Dignity Home Care Professionals, we carefully abide by all the guidelines set forth by the PA Dept. of Health. In addition to background checks and MVRs, we verify worker competency, check their references, order TB testing, and provide thorough training. 


The goal of our Pittsburgh in-home care agency is not simply safe and reliable care, however. Our goal is to build relationships. We hire compassionate direct care workers who truly want to get to know and care for our clients. Why? Because kindness matters, and we're all about being kind. 


Private caregivers or licensed agency direct care workers? Your choice. If you choose the latter, we hope you'll give us a call.


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