Home Care Q&A

What does "home services" include?

There are a myriad of services in the community that are focused on serving individuals with chronic and progressive disease and disability in the home. Some of these are available through your local health services and may be means tested. e.g. Home Help, Personal Assistant, Carer. There is no entitlement to this service.

Read more about homecare packages.

If I am thinking about looking for some help at home, what would my first steps be?

The first thing you need to do is think about exactly what services you need. The level of skill for each service varies, as does the cost. A companion or carer is going to be less expensive than a nurse. You need to think about exactly how much help you need and when you will need it…is it a couple of hours a day, morning and evening, or during overnight hours? The second thing you need to do is decide whether you are going to hire privately, or if you are going to contract with a service agency in the community. Many times this decision is based on financial resources.

Is hiring privately complicated?

If you are hiring a personal carer you need to decide on the qualifications you will expect in an applicant. You will also have to think about who will interview the applicants, where they will be interviewed, and who will oversee paying them.

You will probably need to have someone available to help with the financial responsibilities of being an employer in terms of taxes, etc. It is important that a background check be conducted, and that personal and professional references are checked. If you are hiring someone as a live-in, you will want to address privacy issues for both you and the employee.

Is there an advantage to using a home health agency rather than hiring privately?

When you use an agency, that agency does the hiring and training as well as the record keeping, scheduling, and billing, all of which can take a burden off an overwhelmed family. On the other hand, if you are paying out of pocket, hiring your own personal assistant will almost certainly be less expensive than going through an agency.

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