Uber for Home Care

Finding the right home care service provider (change to caregiver?) for your loved one is a difficult choice. You can search Craigslist (for a private caregiver) and Google for (a home care provider) providers and end up more confused than before you started. There are tons of variables to consider such as price, type of provider and what services are necessary. In an effort to make the process easier, startups from Silicon Valley have received funding to turn home care into an app. An example of one of these startups is Honor. Honor is a homecare listing service that comes with an app. Home care listing services can come at a cost that outweighs the benefits an app will provide.

Can we App-ify homecare?

The options available to people looking for home care for their loved ones are limited. When people seek out an individual to provide care, they take on the risk of hiring that person which turns people into employers not clients. As employers, people are responsible for providing payroll, taxes, insurance and scheduling needs. This means that if a home care provider doesn’t pay their taxes or has an accident in your loved ones residence, you take on that responsibility.  

The business model is tempting for investors because they are providing one of the easiest parts of home care. Getting a qualified individual into a house to provide home care is the easy part. The hard part is making sure the care is consistent, addressing needs as they arise and fixing problems when they occur. A user friendly app for care isn’t going to help people that much if it doesn’t also assume the risks and responsibilities that follow.

With Honor, you may see the caregiver’s profile but you don’t know if there will be consistency of care, which is especially important in cases with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are also questions about how insurance is covered through the app provider. Since the app is just a broker for home caregivers, insurance is the caregiver’s responsibility, and there is no ability to know that home caregivers are fully covered 100% of the time.

The biggest question is who is accountable in the case that something goes wrong. An app might be great for connecting people who need care with caregivers, but that strength seems rather petty if the broker also sheds all responsibilities for wrongdoing. When someone needs a ride, Uber can get them from point A to point B quickly, and the rider assumes some amount of risk. But are people willing to take these same risks when the service is privately provided in someone’s home and their loved one’s health is at stake?

Home care agencies like us provide services that handle the business side of home care, so that clients can demand a high quality of service. In any event, we take on the responsibility of care, minimize the chances of an event and provide recourse to rectify any situations if they occur. We go well beyond our legal obligations to provide a high standard of care at all times. Can an app provider say the same?

Cons for Honor users:

  • No consistency of caregiver
  • Don’t know caregivers
  • Lack of supervision and accountability
  • No continuity of care

Cons for Honor caregivers:

  • No overtime
  • 1 hour scheduling increments
  • Taxes aren’t covered
  • Assumes caregiver responsibility for insurance, bonding and state compliance
  • Lack of communication and support