Choosing a Caregiver

MAY 30, 1994 VOLUME 1, NUMBER 27

By Joan Ardern, Community Liaison, Care Coordinators, Inc.

(Second of three parts)

There are advantages to hiring a home health agency rather than hiring someone privately. Agencies are on-call twenty-four hours a day. A progressive agency will have updated training programs for their caregivers. Another advantage of an agency is that it has the ability to provide a substitute in case of an emergency. The agency also assumes responsibility for payroll, worker’s compensation insurance, and related paperwork.

A major pitfall with either hiring privately or through an agency is the potential for a well-intentioned caregiver to assume more responsibility than intended. Clients may find themselves by-passed on major decisions concerning their care. A good agency will monitor the care being provided and ensure that the caregiver adheres strictly to the assigned responsibilities.

Another way to find a caregiver is to use a new type of service that emerged in the late 1980s–the private case management company. The case management company can provide an assessment and evaluation of client needs, financial management, hiring and monitoring of caregivers, and (in some cases) protective services such as guardianship and conservatorship. The case management company can be an effective choice for the family who does not want to deal directly with the process of hiring the caregiver. A private case manager will first assess the needs of the client and then coordinate appropriate services from professionals for the individual’s care. Essentially, you will be paying the case manager to conduct the research to find the proper caregiver and to monitor the caregiver. The cost of the caregiver should remain the same whether provided through a home health agency or a case management company.

About this Series

Joan Ardern, Community Liaison for Care Coordinators, Inc. has written this three-part series on “Choosing a Caregiver.” The first installment appeared in last week’s Elder Law Issues, and the final segment will be printed next week.

Lawyer Sentenced

Phoenix lawyer David Mason was sentenced to seven years in prison last week on fraud and theft charges. Mason was also ordered to pay almost $400,000 in restitution to several clients and estates he had administered.

Mason plead guilty to the charges last month. He admitted using his Sun City law office to gain control of clients’ estates and then misappropriate funds.

Mason has been suspended by the State Bar of Arizona since 1992. His conviction and sentence will result in automatic disbarment. Mason had previously served as a circuit judge in Aledo, Illinois, before moving to Sun City.

A Jolly Good Fellow

Elder Law Issues’ Editor, Publisher and Author Robert B. Fleming has been named as a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. The Academy, at its annual Symposium in Seattle last week, named Fleming and five other elder law attorneys as Fellows in recognition of their contributions to their respective communities and the practice of elder law generally. The other new Fellows hail from Florida, California, Ohio and Georgia. They join the fifteen national elder law leaders already selected for Fellowship in previous years.

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