Searching for the right organization or person to provide in home care for your loved ones can be a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before. There are a lot of providers available, from nationwide franchises to smaller local businesses and independent contractors...all of which can be found online! With so many options at your fingertips, it can be difficult to know which type of provider will best suit your family’s needs (for an in-depth discussion of the costs of different types of senior care, click here). Let’s take a look at one of the most important differentiators for you to know about: the difference between in home care registries and home care agencies.
Home Care Registries:
- are usually a network or listing of independent contractors
- do not match Social Security, provide workers compensation insurance, liability insurance or bonding
- are not financially liable for independent contractors
- may be cheaper to hire than an agency
- have different legal implications for clients
Home Care Agencies:
- employ their caretakers (employees are different than contractors*)
- are fully licensed, bonded, and insured
- are financially liable for their employees/caretakers
- may be slightly more expensive
- have more legal responsibility for employees
*Why is the difference between caretaker employees and caretaker independent contractors so important? Well, one of the biggest reasons is that the legal liability for your family differs greatly depending on who you hire. For instance, if an independent contractor gets injured on the job (ie, in your home), that is a scenario likely to fall under your homeowners’ insurance, as opposed to worker’s compensation (which would be the case if you had hired a home care agency instead).
Other differentiators that are worthy of a little discussion include the likelihood that agency employees are more thoroughly vetted during the hiring process - after all, the company will be investing significant resources into their training and administrative costs (read here to learn about our staff credentials). It might also be easier to switch caretakers if you’re working through an agency when there are scheduling or personality conflicts (rather than going through the hiring process all over again).
As you can see, there are some subtle differences between home care agencies and home care registries. Some of these considerations may be more important than others to your family, but they’re all good for you to know about. At Pennsylvania Agency of Nurses, our recommendation to those searching for senior care is that they start with an agency search first. Of course, many independent contractors found through home care registries are professional, competent, and have proper credentials, and there are certainly some home care agencies that may provide less-than-ideal service. We’re not saying that one is inherently better than the other - that’s for you to decide! Regardless of which route your family chooses, be sure to ask for (and check!) references!