Seniors Being Misled or Abused You Decide

by michellerogers on October 21, 2009

Earlier this week I received an email from a colleague advising his family members were in need of help but what you don’t know is this request of help started over a year ago.  Here’s the story.

My colleagues Grandparents need some support in their home where they wish to remain.  Finally they decided to take the plunge and invite another company in before I could speak with them.

After many conversations about home care services with a family member, the couple brought in another company. Then I received an email and learned the other company presented one solution at an hourly cost that did not represent an average hourly cost known in the market. I expressed my concern to my colleague and advised him that because of the below market hourly cost expect the other company to come back and increase the cost for home care services.

As you probably can guess this is exactly what happened. The other company came in to do an evaluation. The evaluator was not an employee but a contractor. I learned that the couple felt coerced into signing a contract.

The contractor for the other company did not leave a signed copy of the contract.  It took several requests from  the couple  to receive the signed contract and they had no idea what they really had signed. 
 
The caregiver arrived the first 2 days and 48 hours later the other company called to inform the couple the hourly rate would be increased by $5 per hour.  The explanation, well there really was no explanation.   The caregiver they said would show up never did and they had to replace the caregiver with someone else. 

It frustrates me when I learn of these stories.  When my colleague originally contacted me with his concerns I explained that what some  companies will bring in contractors not employees.  This means his family members are deemed the employer and if the contractor is injured they will be responsible and liable for any medical care.   I also explained some companies will quote a very low cost of service and once they secure the service a few days later will come back and explain a higher level of service is needed along with a price increase.   I cannot understand why these companies feel the need to pressure someone into signing a contract, not leaving a duplicate and increasing the price just a few days later. 

My opinion is this is a form of elder abuse.  Emotional abuse in pressuring them to sign a contract before completing their due diligence.  Financial abuse, one price quoted and a few days later an increase in services performed.  The moral of this story, when hiring home care agencies take the time to interview the companies, ask and call references, check with your local Better Business Bureau, ask questions about how the company employs their staff and caregivers,.  You can also contact the National Private Duty Association, to be a member you must have a level of standards in place.

So you decide misled or a form of abuse?

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