For many, as they get older, there comes a time when they are no longer able to take care of themselves and the family on their own. Spouses, children, relatives, and friends can provide support, but they usually cannot provide full-time care on a permanent basis. If a parent or a single parent is suddenly dependent on care, you as a family member initially face many questions and decisions. Many people in need of care wish to continue living at home in their familiar surroundings, and therefore rely on outside help. The well-established model is to hire caregivers from Eastern Europe who temporarily relocate to live with and look after relatives.
But what should you look for when looking for a caregiver? How can reputable brokers be distinguished from questionable brokers? What role does the level of care play? Philip Burr, care expert and founder of marta, a 24-hour caregiver recruitment platform, answers these and other questions.
When parents need a caregiver
Bild Women: Mr. Bohr, what makes good care?
Philip Bohr: Good care is characterized primarily by respectful behavior on both sides of each other. Many nursing assignments fail due to personal problems, which are often due to lack of respect, gratitude, and tolerance. Good care should have a positive effect on the moods of those who need care. For those who need care and most of them are elderly, routine in daily life is very important.
Relatives should trust the experience of caregivers without forgetting the preferences of those who need care. In addition to professional curative care, a clear and harmonious routine collaboration is signs of quality care.
What duties can a caregiver do?
The need for long-term care brings with it many challenges that family members do not have to deal with on their own. You can designate an outpatient care service or a home care worker to support you. Outpatient care services expertise lies in curative care and that of a home care worker in primary care and support in the home. Curative care includes medical assistance—such as treating wounds, giving tablets, giving injections—and basic care includes repetitive tasks of dealing with daily living, such as helping with dressing and dressing, going to the toilet, and personal hygiene.
Home caregivers who move in with those in need of care also assist with household chores and can do cooking, washing, cleaning and leisure activities for those in need of care.
24 hour care problem: unspoken action and a lack of transparency
Where can family members go to find a caregiver?
Outpatient care is provided by trained nursing staff and organized by nursing care insurance funds. If you are looking for an outpatient care service, it is best to find out about offers in the area directly from the care insurance company or from care support points. They can also help buy aid or organize sick trips.
In contrast to the search for an outpatient care service, the search for home care is often more difficult. Since the market for so-called 24-hour care is unregulated, there is a lot of unreported work and little transparency. One way to find a caregiver is to hire an agency. However, the problem here is that most agencies only send inquiries to companies in Eastern Europe, thus leaving the choice of the support team to unknown third parties. As a result, they cannot guarantee legality or fair payment and raise costs.
Platforms such as marta.de are an alternative to looking for a provider. Unlike placement through an agency, care seekers can contact caregivers from Europe directly and learn about their expertise and experience. The company itself conducts interviews and background checks with on-site caregivers and takes care of insurance and legality of employment. By cutting out other recruiters, costs can be saved to all parties through this direct recruitment method.
Finding a Caregiver: Top Tips at a Glance
What should family members pay attention to?
In addition to legality and the absence of mediation by subcontractors, choosing the right caregiver is of course crucial to the success of home care. At first, families often place great importance on the gender, language skills, or smoking habit of the individual caregiver.
However, experience has shown that these factors are significantly more decisive for the success of care:
- Find out the relevant clinical images
- General work experience
- loving form of care
Because of their many years of professional experience, caregivers themselves usually have a specific task profile and clear ideas about the care situations they want and can take care of. Therefore, relatives should never respond to an offer in which a mediator suggests that they can find a suitable person for you immediately and without consulting a caregiver. As a rule, this only results in the caregiver canceling the order afterwards or canceling it after a short assignment.
You must ensure that the care worker is also informed of the details of the assignment in their mother tongue prior to the assignment and that an effective decision can be made in favor of your case. It is also important that the person in need of care is looked after mentally and looks forward to the support of the caregiver at home.
How is the level of care determined?
In the context of the 2017 Care Reform, the three-tiered system of levels of care was replaced by a five-tiered system of care, which takes psychological and cognitive disabilities more into account. Care level 1 describes the lowest level of need for care and care 5, which is the highest. The calculation is based on 64 questions that check the degree of independence in six different areas of life. These six care-related modules include, for example, mobility, cognitive and communicative skills or behavior and consist of various criteria.
If you apply for a degree of care from the relevant Nursing Care Fund, an expert from the Medical Service or Medicproof (in the PKV) will contact you to determine the degree of care at an in-person appointment based on the above six modules and with the help of the associated points system identification.
These documents are important for hiring a nurse
What are the formalities that relatives have to observe?
Anyone who understands the need to sponsor a relative must first apply for a degree of care in the Responsible Care Insurance Fund. In this way, financial support for long-term care insurance funds as well as tax relief can be guaranteed. When selecting a local caregiver, relatives must ensure that the caregiver is either self-employed in European trade or, if sent from abroad, can provide a certificate from Social Security.
It should also be noted that, as a general rule, only EU caregivers can legally work in home care – other offers should be viewed with the utmost caution.
What are the expected costs?
Home care costs usually range between 2,300 and 2,700 euros per month and depends on the number of family members, care efforts and expectations of the caregiver. In addition to the costs of the care itself, free accommodation – a lockable room is sufficient – and supplies must be made available to the caregiver.
Since home care is a private service and cannot be paid regularly through in-kind care benefits, relatives can benefit from the care allowance and thus reduce the financial burden.
Can the cost of a caregiver be tax deductible?
In addition to financial support for long-term care insurance funds through the long-term care allowance (between 316 and 901 euros per month, depending on the level of care) and preventive care (1,612 euros per year), the state supports those in need of care and their relatives with a tax advantage for family-related services. One-fifth of costs up to €20,000 per year can be claimed on your income tax return, resulting in tax savings of up to €4,000 per year.
Nursing care in Germany has not only been in crisis since the Corona pandemic. Even if the number of nursing staff is slowly increasing, there is still an emergency in a number of homes and clinics: