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When you learn that your family can benefit from respite care or in-home care, you have two options available: an independent provider or an agency. An independent provider is someone who offers respite care but is not licensed to do so. These individuals may be referred to you by others, or you can find them listed in ads or online. An agency, on the other hand, is an established company that has a number of caregivers screened and qualified by the company. Agencies are safer, easier and more convenient to use, though they tend to be more expensive. The old adage is particularly true in this case: “You get what you pay for.”

Let’s take a look at the benefits to choosing an in-home care agency over an independent provider.

Background Checks and References

With an independent provider, it’s up to you to run a background check and verify all references. This takes time and costs money. Most background checks have a fee of $100-$150 to get the complete results you need. Fortunately, an agency will run a background check on each candidate and verify all references. This means that any caregiver recommended for you is qualified and meets the requirements of the agency.

Backup Caregivers Available

Whether you choose to hire in-home care on a regular or as-needed basis, the last thing you want is to be left without your caregiver at the last minute. Unfortunately, this happens with independent caregivers all too often. With an agency, however, you will be sent another caregiver that will match your loved one’s needs so you can follow through with your schedule while your loved one is being well cared for.

Customer Service Team

If any issues arise with an independent caregiver, you have very little recourse. An agency gives you a level of protection you’ll be happy to have. If you have concerns or complaints, there is someone to talk to, and if the current caregiver isn’t working out, another one can be assigned in their place. Payment schedules are clearly laid out, and there are certain expectations that all caregivers must follow.

Extended Services

An independent provider may be limited in what they can provide. This may be fine if all you’re looking for is a companion, but it likely will not be if your loved one requires specialized care. Working with an agency allows you to be specific about the exact care you want for your loved one such as tube feedings, medication administration and assistance with personal hygiene. As your loved one progresses in their illness, you can rest assured that the agency will provide the right level of care. For this reason, it is helpful to select an in-home care agency that is full service, offering Companions, Certified Nursing Assistants, and Skilled Nurses. This will ensure your loved one receives the appropriate level of care they require.