When the Home Health Aide is a Relative

i_healthcare_geriatricsThere is currently a bill pending in the Washington State legislature that would prohibit state reimbursement for home health care to home health aides (or health care workers in similar roles, usually employed by agencies) who are related to or live with the patient. The bill is called “House Bill 2361” and I would strongly suggest that home health aides or those aspiring to work as HHAs research this bill as well as current legislation in their own state.

Once you’re done researching, I have some obvious questions for you from both sides of the debate.  On the pro side (arguing to stop paying the home health aides if they’re related to the patient), there is the question of why a home health aide who is related to the patient should be paid in the first place?

Traditionally, don’t family members take care of each other, especially during times of illness?  I can attest from personal experience that my mother was just as good if not better than many of the CNAs and HHAs I worked with as a nurse.  She took excellent care of my father while he was dying of a debilitating brain disease.

On the con side, there is the valid point that all home health aides should be paid according to their skills, training, experience and work performed, regardless of whether they are related to the patient. Having seen how hard home health aides work, I definitely see this side of the debate.  My mother may have had the best suggestion of all.

After taking care of my father for close to 10 years before he passed away, she suggested that the government give a significant tax break or refund to those who choose to take care of their relatives in the home versus placing them in a long term facility to be cared for by others.  As she put it: “The work I’m doing is saving the state of Florida so much money (the bed, staff, supplies, meds, labor) – shouldn’t I get that money back somehow?”  What do you think?

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  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m currently working as a CHHA in New Jersey…However, my client lives 45 min away and i don’t own a car so sometimes my sick and elderly father has to drive me, rather than allow me to use his car…I’m there 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and he often has doctors appointments of his own so it makes things quite complicated, to say the least. I recently came up with the idea, that maybe I can work as my father’s CHHA. He has Hep c, causing two tumors in his liver, also skin cancer, COPD(Emphezema),gall stones,a hornea, bile duct obstruction(due to the tumors and gall stones)… with the cancer he is constantly undergoing many procedures like radiation and such. His dissability and social security aren’t enough to buy food in the house, in addition to paying the bills and rent. My older brother has a dissability and finds it hard to hold a job and my mother is also diasable with back issues…I am the only woring one in the house…Sometimes working 13 hrs between my two jobs which are an hour appart.

    I know this post was old, but do you think that it is allowed for a chha to work in one’s home for a relative?
    The money I save on daily tolls and gas would be beneficial. I give my dad as much money as I can so he doesn’t have to work off the books as a cab driver..and to be honest I don’t want him to work 5am-2:30pm making 50 bucks. It’s pretty sad to see him so ill and I’m physically not around to make sure he eats and takes care of himself.

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