An alternative source for private home care for elderly

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An alternative source for private home care for elderly

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With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other new legislative requirements imposing significant new financial burdens on private duty home care agencies, which will ultimately drive up the cost to consumers of obtaining in-home care, a nonprofit group is alerting consumers to an alternative source for obtaining private home care for elderly family members.

“The concept of private duty care has been around for many years and basically refers to in-home care that is paid for directly by the consumer, not Medicare or Medicaid,” said Amy Natt, a certified geriatric care manager and owner of Aging Outreach Services in North Carolina. “This care can either be provided by a home care agency, an individual caregiver whom a consumer finds online or through some other informal means, or by a professional referral from a private duty caregiver registry.”

According to Natt, the option of finding home care through an agency that hires caregivers provides a good mechanism for obtaining quality caregivers whose credentials have been verified. However, this is often the most expensive model and is about to become even more costly due to the requirements from ACA and other federal and state regulatory developments, which have collectively imposed a number of new financial burdens on home care agencies.

The second option of hiring an “underground” caregiver by consulting Craig’s List or some other online directory is a less expensive avenue for obtaining in-home care. However, Natt warns that this approach is fraught with a wide range of risks since there are no consumer protections, professional credentialing requirements or background checks on the caregivers.

“The third option, and the original model for home care, combines the best of both worlds. A caregiver registry is a company that refers self-employed caregivers to individuals on a private basis for care needed anywhere from a few hours at a time up to 24 hours a day,” said Natt. “The registry provides administrative support to the consumer and access to caregivers that have been pre-screened prior to entering the client’s home. At the same time, since the caregivers are self-employed, a caregiver registry can save families anywhere from 10 to 30 percent on their in-home care expenses. It is about providing the consumer with safe access to the private duty caregiver at an affordable cost.”

Natt’s company is a member of the Private Care Association (PCA), the national association for private duty home care registries and referral agencies since 1977.

For more information about private duty home care registries, please visit www.privatecare.org.

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