By Jennifer Luna Friedrich
Another very important aspect of hiring a
freelance caregiver is safety. Has this person
been convicted of a crime? What is their work
history? Be sure to have the applicant list their
experience and training. Check their references.
Employee application forms are available at office
supply stores, and can be used for each potential
employee. It is also important to verify that this
person can legally work in the United States. A form
called the I-9 should be kept on file for the
employee. Fines ranging from $250 to $2,000 can be
imposed on those who hire illegal immigrants. Also,
be sure to have a written agreement with the
caregiver to avoid potential wage and labor
For peace of mind, you may want to use agencies
or registries that offer pre-screened caregivers for
you to hire directly. Using a screening
service does not relieve you of your responsibilitie
s as an employer if you hire the caregiver directly.
Agencies and companies who do background checks can
be found in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet.
Another option for finding caregivers is
through an agency. In-home care agencies usually
offer licensed and bonded staff that perform a
variety of tasks. While it may be more expensive to
hire a caregiver through an agency, you will not be
responsible for costs such as accounting, insurance
and taxes. When choosing an agency, be sure to ask
about what services are provided. Find out about the
company. How long have they been in business? Are
they with the Better Business Bureau? Check their
references. Compare costs, services and features
that they offer. Do not be afraid to ask
questions. Remember, you are the client, and
ultimately you must feel comfortable and confident
with the caregiverís services.
Questions to Ask When Hiring a Caregiver
When interviewing potential agencies and caregivers,
there are many important things to consider:
What services are provided?
Caregivers may provide light housekeeping,
transportation, meal preparation, medication
monitoring, personal care, and assistance with
ambulation. Some agencies provide higher levels of
care such as incontinence care, heavy transfers and
Alzheimerís care. Have the agency clearly
state in writing what services are provided.
Can they work a schedule according to your needs?
Some agencies have minimum numbers of hours per
shift. Some offer shift rates. Some charge more for
holidays, nights and weekends. Ask which holidays
are observed by the agency.
What are the costs? How are payments handled? What
is the cancellation policy?
Some agencies/caregivers charge by the hour, while
others may charge by the job or shift. You should
outline in writing what you are getting for your
money. Some agencies require a deposit before
services begin. Find out what the deposit covers and
their refund policy. Additionally, ask about their
cancellation policy. Some agencies require advanced
written notice of cancellation. Prices can vary
widely. The cheapest is not always the best
option. It pays to shop and compare.