How it works is you pay the agency, and they handle everything including an assessment of your mom’s needs, assigning appropriately trained and pre-screened staff to care for her, and finding a fill-in on days her aide cannot come.
Some of the drawbacks, however, are that you may not have much input into the selection of the caregiver, and the caregivers may change or alternate, which can cause a disruption in care and confusion.
You also need to know that while Medicare covers some in-home health care services if it’s ordered by a doctor, they don’t cover homemaker services. Nor will they cover personal care services, such as bathing and dressing, provided by a home health aide if that is the only care required. But if your mom is low-income and qualifies for Medicaid, some services are covered.
To locate and compare Medicare-approved home health agencies, visit medicare.gov/hhcompare and see the “Medicare and Home Health Care” online publication at medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10969.pdf that explains coverage and how to choose an agency.
Hiring directly: Hiring an independent caregiver on your own is the other option, and it’s less expensive. Costs typically range between $10 and $20 per hour. Hiring directly also gives you more control over who you hire so you can choose someone who you feel is right for your mom.
But be aware that if you hire someone on your own, you become the employer, so there’s no agency support to fall back on if a problem occurs or if the aide doesn’t show up. You’re also responsible for paying payroll taxes and any worker-related injuries that may happen. If you choose this option, make sure you check the aide’s references thoroughly and do a criminal background check.