I am a bank trust officer and we have recently become trustee (..) ?

Posted: January 12, 2012 7:28 pm

Question: I am a bank trust officer and we have recently become trustee for a woman who lives alone with a caregiver. We are uncomfortable with the role of “employer” and want to limit the trust’s exposure where the caregiver is concerned. Is there a way to document that the care the client is receiving is good/appropriate and/or is there a way to shift the employment responsibility without replacing the caregiver?

Answer: Lifecare Innovations has been involved in quite a few cases where banks “inherited” responsibility for a caregiver and essentially acted as the caregiver’s employer. While independent caregivers can offer some economy, they also pose a certain degree of risk. Most of them have no health insurance, no disability and no access to Worker’s Compensation insurance. If such a caregiver injures herself in the workplace (your client’s home), she will have no insurance coverage. She may not be able to work due to her injury. Lacking any other recourse, it is highly probable the caregiver will come after the trust to pay for treatment and compensate her when she is unable to work. This is where the independent caregiver can become extraordinarily expensive.

In instances such as the one described above, LCI has come in and screened/hired the caregiver. Everyone wins in this scenario. The client is able to keep her trusted, familiar caregiver. The trust no longer absorbs the risk: The caregiver becomes our employee and is bonded and insured through the company. We gain a new client and caregiver, and can offer supervision and oversight throughout the life of the case.

Another important protective measure for the trust is to initiate a Care Audit. We are happy to objectively document the quality of the care being rendered, and to make any salient recommendations in that regard. The bank thus has a third-party clinical opinion as to the appropriateness and quality of the care, and shows due diligence in assuring the client is safe and well tended. Should an issue with the care emerge at a later date, the bank will have this report on file showing that the care was assessed and found suitable. As the client’s needs evolve over time, Care Audits can be repeated to ensure that the client remains safe in the home and that all needs are met by the caregiver.

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