Last Updated on Mar 3, 2021 by James W

You may have a senior loved one who needs to assistance while performing routine tasks. These can be cleaning, laundry, cooking, eating, paying their bills, and other household chores. Maybe a debilitating illness or a serious injury has rendered them incapable of doing these tasks without help. This is where you will have to make a choice between hiring a home care agency and an independent home health aide to care and support your senior loved one.

Both home care agency and home health aides are involved in providing the necessary care to senior patients. Both are essentially business models where certain degree of risk is involved.

Suppose there is negligence on the part of the agency or the home health aide while providing caregiving services to patients. In that case, they may have to face legal consequences, especially when the negligence could have proved fatal to the patient. In such cases, the caregiver may have to face hefty legal fees.

Differences between home care agency or an independent home health aide

Before you choose between a home care agency and an independent home health aide, here are the differences between the two that you should know:

  1. Definition

A home care agency is a licensed business that employs trained caregivers for your loved one to offer in-home assistance and care. These businesses provide both medical and non-medical care. Usually, skilled nurses, nursing assistants, and medical professionals working with a home care agency provide medical care to patients. Some of the non-medical care provided by these people include preparing meals, showering, eating, dressing up, running errands, and cleaning.

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One the other hand, independent home health aide is approached and hired directly by the patient’s family or relatives. There is no agency bridging the gap between the patient and the caregiver in this scenario. They are mostly involved in non-medical, personal care activities of the patient.

  1. Quality of services

A home care agency business is required to adhere to some strict federal and state-level regulations. There is a set of licensing requirements that these businesses must meet without fail. This is the reason why they must maintain the quality of service they offer to patients. Usually professionals working for a home care agency are required to have necessary training in the field.

Home health aides are different from home care agencies when it comes to the quality of support and care given to patients. The former’s job could be slightly less demanding compared to the former’s job.

There’s also a convenience factor when you work with an agency; if you are not happy with a caregiver, you can simply ask the agency for a replacement. But independent home health aides are not under any agency, meaning you will have to look for a new one yourself if you are unhappy with the quality of care provided by them.

  1. Cost

When it comes to the cost involved in hiring a home care agency or a home health aide, the former proves to be slightly more expensive than the latter. In 2019, the national average rate per hour for patient’s home care was $21. This, of course, will depend on the type of care provided and the state in which the patient resides.

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On the flip side, independent home health aides earn 20 to 30 percent less as compared to home care agency professionals. In 2019, the hourly average rate charged by home health aides was somewhere between $15 and $17. Although the rates may vary from state-to-state, the difference in costs of hiring both are more or less the same across the country.

Pros and cons of hiring a home care agency and an independent home health aide

Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of working with both types of caregivers:

Home Care Agency Home Health Aide
Pros You get specialized services from the company recruited caregivers. This includes background checks, payroll management and alternative arrangements. Less expensive compared to home care agencies.

You can be selective about who to hire.

Cons They are slightly more expensive compared to home health aides. You will be required to perform background checks yourself if you are hiring an independent caregiver. From hiring to managing payments, you are required to shoulder many responsibilities as the employer.

From the discussion above, you may have got an idea about which caregiving model does what and how. Before you make a choice, you should always know the needs of the patient. You should hire someone who will match his or her needs and provide the much-needed unconditional affection to your beloved one.

One last thing to be aware of, you should always hire a home health agency or home health aide carrying professional liability insurance and general liability insurance. Then you know the work they carried out will be covered by insurance if any damage is caused.

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