Yesterday's Chicago Tribune reported a Caregiver was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for stealing jewelry from the 61-year-old paraplegic client she was caring for as an independently hired Caregiver.
One huge advantage of hiring a Senior Home Care Agency to manage in-home care needs is that the agency, as a business, employees the Caregivers and provides Worker's Compensation Insurance (required by law) and carries a Fidelity Bond and Professional Liability Insurance.
In addition, the Senior Home Care Agency will do a Background Check on the Caregivers they hire, complete with matching prior addresses to the Social Security number the Caregiver has submitted and checking both professional and personal references. The Senior Home Care Agency will also manage the entire care for their elderly and disabled clients, making sure that any valuables are managed effectively so no temptations are offered (as the Agency also must follow certain guidelines to maintain their insurance coverage). In addition, as Caregivers are employees of agencies, they want to receive their employee benefits, such as Social Security so they can collect Social Security payments when they retire and other benefits such as health insurance, performance bonuses and the security of Worker's Compensation Insurance (Indpendently hired Caregivers, also called "hire-direct Caregivers" or "Independent Contractors" will not have these employee beneftis and their clients will not have the insurance protections either).
Caregivers working for Senior Home Care Agencies are providing care as a career and because of this, if they suspect there is even slightly the chance of a situation which would place their performance in question, they will report this to their Supervisor. Caregivers working for agencies will make sure that even if they are just running an errand to purchase an item for a client that the agency is aware and that it is tracked through a Petty Cash account. But even more importantly, the Senior Home Care Agency has created Policies & Procedures for both the Caregiver and the Client to follow to make sure proper care is provided and the opportunity for theft is eliminated. The Agency would not stay in business and the Caregiver would not have a job if they were not professionally providing quallity care.
As Senior Home Care Agencies want to maintain a positive reputation in their community, in order for referrals from healthcare industry professionals to continue, they will make sure that a case is managed effectively and that any valuables are secured. In the event that something did occur, they maintain insurance coverage to reimburse the client- just as we all maintain homeowner's insurance and car insurance.
A professional Senior Home Care Agency knows how to effectively manage the care to avoid situations that would provide an opportunity for theft.
The Illinois Caregiver who was stealing from her client had no insurance coverage - no Fidelity Bond and no Professional Liability Insurance to provide compensation for the rings she stole from her senior client (she sold some of the stolen jewelry at a pawn shop and the transaction was caught on video-tape). The DuPage County Judge Robert Anderson said that because there was little prospect of getting any restitution from the Caregvier, he did not order her to pay it (this Caregiver will also get free room and board for 3 1/2 years while she is in jail).
If this Caregiver would have been employed through a Senior Home Care Agency, the agency would have made sure a system was in place to protect her jewelry collection and the insurance protection would also have been in place to provide restitution. Not sure if the Judge thought to mention this so that in the future this paraplegic can enjoy the added protections a Senior Home Care Agency delivers.
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