Live In Care Agencies

When you’re looking for a caregiver from a number of the live in care agencies that are available, we suggest that you make sure you have clarified the duties with a formalized agreement with the agency.  Though you can always modify the contract as needed, you do need to have a clear idea of the duties they’ll be performing as a live in, before you interview them, and before you hire them.  Make sure you have the employee sign a contract before work begins, or most likely if you’re contracting with a live in care agency, then they’ll have their own contract to sign.  Regardless, make sure you have the following information in the agreement:

  • Employer name, address, telephone number
  • Employee name, address, telephone number
  • Employee Social Security number
  • Salary, payment method, terms of payment (weekly, bimonthly, etc).
  • Benefits (i.e., meals, entertainment allowance, vacation, insurance)
  • Expenses, transportation fees, reimbursement procedures
  • Record keeping/taxes
  • Work schedule/timekeeping
  • Length of service
  • Illness/absences
  • Holidays/make-up time
  • Job description
  • Emergency procedures
  • Worker’s emergency contacts (names, day and evening telephone numbers)
  • House rules (include policies on smoking, drinking, foul language, tardiness, absence without notice, guests)
  • Termination of employments (two weeks, two warnings, etc.)
  • Reasons for termination (theft, carelessness, failure to carry out duties, violation of house rules, physical and/or verbal abuse, etc)
  • Procedure for quitting job
  • Employee signature and date
  • Employer signature and date

If at any time you become dissatisfied with the quality of care that a live in care agency is providing, you can take action.  Many agencies have a patient representative on staff.  This advocate guides the patient through any medical bureaucracyand can ensure that the patient is getting the rights to which they are entitled, including respectful care, treatment options and confidentiality.  Or, depending on the contract you’ve signed, be sure to know your rights and responsibilities for terminating service, i.e., 30 day written notice, 2 infractions that are verified, etc.  As often you’ll be signing a legal binding agreement, make sure you’re acting within the law and parameters set forth in the contract you agreed to.

One of the things to keep in mind when it comes to helping older people, is that more is not necessarily better.   Too much assistance and attention can be harmful for both the giver and the receiver.  Although strong support of our senior family members can produce a positive, tangible boost to the quality of their lives at first, continuing to give a high level of help can bring about a depressive effect over time.  Excessive assistance erodes an older person’s sense of competence and independence, and can diminish their life skills.

Therefore, when you’re hiring a person from a live in care agency, it’s important for you to realize that although you initially know the senior in need the best, over time, you need to realize that you’re not the caregiving expert.  Trained professionals that you hired from the agency, are those with the most expertise in senior care, and you need to be able to have an open mind, to even accept some criticism they may place your way, in the event you are meddling or actually causing issues with the kind of senior care they know best how to deliver.

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