Professional In Home Care Providers in Northridge, CA

The services we offer are provided by caregivers who are often referred to as home health aides, certified nursing assistants and custodial care workers. Our caregivers make it possible for people with functional limitations to remain at home in a comfortable, familiar environment. Home health aides provide a wide range of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, grooming, assisting with ambulation or transferring, toileting, feeding andproviding medication reminders. In addition, home health aides help with what professionals call,instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as shopping, meal preparation, making medicalappointments, transportation, laundry and companionship.

Due to the cost and the increasing shortage of home health aides, many families seeking to hire in-home staff turn to private individuals rather than working through an agency. While at first glance this seems reasonable, it can also cause numerous problems and create unexpected liabilities for the family, who becomes the employer.

Tax Issues

As a private employer, the individual or family is required to pay Social Security, unemployment and payroll taxes. This can be a serious obligation because it may involve interest on back taxes, civil fines and the possibility of criminal penalties.

Workers' Compensation and Liability Issues

As the employer, the individual or family paying for the private home health aide would be held liable for any work-related injury that occurs on the job. This can include the cost of all medical expenses and any disability payments that might become applicable. Since the home-care industry is noted for work-related injuries, this can be a huge risk, especially if the caregiving tasks include lifting, transferring or bathing. There are also risks related to communicable diseases if the aide does not abide by universal precautions that are required by all licensed agency personnel. Furthermore, the employer retains any liability that arises out of an injury to the person being cared for or any other person on the premises. If the home health aide were to cause an accident, for example, in which other family members suffered any harm or losses, the employer would bear the full responsibility for all costs and compensation.

Abuse and Exploitation

Unfortunately, there is the potential for both physical abuse and financial exploitation when work is being done on behalf of a frail, functionally limited, and often cognitively impaired individual. This becomes especially easy when the aide and the recipient of care are isolated in a private home setting with little or no supervision. Families don't fail to provide supervision out of malicious neglect. Supervision is often difficult because of geographic distance, lack of expertise, or the close emotional bonds that often get established between the aide and the person receiving the care. Furthermore, families often do not have the time or the resources to do criminal background checks, or to contact references, if they even think to ask for references. Sometimes families are so grateful for the care provided by an aide that they are also vulnerable to manipulation and exploitation.

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Rona S. Bartelstone, LCSW, BCD,CMC has taught the psychology of aging, healthy aging and other courses on coping with aging parents for many colleges and universities throughout South Florida.