The number of seniors in the world is steadily growing. Advances in medical care, better nutrition and more options when it comes to accommodation after retirement have all contributed to an increasingly aging population across the developed world.
However, there often comes a time when a senior will require the assistance of an external party in order to continue to enjoy a good quality of life.
This level of individualized care is ideal for those who want to maintain a sense of independence but who still require assistance with some day to day tasks.
Often in these cases, the responsibility for identifying the appropriate caregiver will fall to the close family – and that decision can be challenging.
For those who are evaluating the approaches to this delicate question, it may be informative to know that there are two main types of agencies who deal with home caregivers, the Managed Service Agency and the Introduction Agency.
Both have different business models and approaches when it comes to identifying the right person for the job – and the right fit between caregiver and client.
The Managed Service Agency.
Managed Service agencies typically employ the carers that are responsible for taking care of the client. They will manage the entire process of the client relationship including assuming responsibility for the management of the tasks that are required. This removes the responsibility of the tasks from the clients’ hands. Managed Services tend to be a little more pricey than the services that are provided by an Introduction Agency. However, they are an ideal solution for those patients who are isolated and do not have ready access to family members. Managed Care / Service is also governed by local accreditation authorities who oversee the quality of care that is being provided.
The Introduction Agency
The second type of agency is the Introduction Agency. There are major differences between the services of Managed Services Agency and an Introductory Agency.
Possibly the easiest way to describe what an Introductory Agency provides is to say that the name speaks for itself. The Agency serves as the bridge between a self-employed, independent caregiver and the client/clients family.
However, they also offer a number of other value-added services during the process of identifying a caregiver who will not only be able to supply professional care – but who will also be able to fit in with the unique needs and personality of the individual who they will be caring for.
The introduction agency will also perform a number of checks to ensure that the service provider is suitable. These will include a number of different background checks – including a check to see if the qualification that they have provided are valid, a check to see if they have a criminal record and, where it is required – a valid drivers license.
In some instances the Introduction Agency will also arrange for specialized training should that be required.
In essence, the entire relationship is between the client and the caregiver. The Agency may, if required some guidance on various issues, but the client will be dealing with someone who is self-employed.
So when all is said and done which type of service is better. It’s an almost impossible question to answer – it’s simply a case of horses for courses. What suits one individual client may not suit another.
For those families who want to remain actively involved in the lives of those who are being cared for, as well as form a closer relationship with the caregiver then the correct choice might very well be the Introduction Agency.
However, if the client requires highly specialized care and is particularly vulnerable and is a long way from the closest relative, or if those alternatives already have far too many responsibilities then the option of using a Managed Service Agency is one that should be explored. Some Managed Agencies claim that their hands-on approach means that they are better able to provide top quality care. However – in the end, it all revolves around the quality and expertise of the individual carer.
In the end, the choice remains one which is difficult. However, at least those who are making the choice can rest easy knowing that they are taking a proactive approach to the care of their loved ones.