Emergency Back-Up Care Offers a Safety Net for Employee Caregivers

Emergency Back-Up Care Offers a Safety Net for Employee Caregivers

When Emory announced that it was offering an emergency back-up care benefit, Rebeca Villacis-Geraldo, a patient care coordinator at Winship Cancer Institute/Emory Midtown immediately signed up. As the primary caregiver for her elderly mother who suffers from dementia, she knew a time would come when she would need it.

Offered through a partnership with Bright Horizons, Emory’s Back-up Care Advantage Program provides employees and Laney Graduate School students with temporary care for times when normal caregiving arrangements break down. In these high-stress situations, Bright Horizons will arrange for temporary care, either at a high-quality child care center or with a fully screened and credentialed in-home caregiver. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for infants through the elderly.

For Rebeca, this benefit gives her peace of mind. The responsibility for managing her mother’s care falls on her shoulders, so when her usual arrangements fall through, it is stressful -- work deadlines and responsibilities don’t shift for these personal situations. And, knowing that she can access professional in-home care for her mother is very important to her.

“Your elderly parents are like your children in some respects– you don’t want to trust them with just anyone,” says Rebeca. “But within a short time, my mother, who doesn’t trust strangers easily, was walking arm-in-arm with her caregiver.”

The Back-up Care Advantage Program works as a much-needed safety net for Emory employees and graduate students who are trying to balance work or school along with full-time caregiving.

“Employees today are juggling more than just job responsibilities,” says Gretchen Massey, Client Relations Director for Bright Horizons. “Many are also taking care of children and parents, while managing their professional responsibilities, and trying to preserve their own well-being.”

Erin Peone, a shift nurse manager at Winship Cancer Institute on the Clifton Campus, learned about the back-up care program shortly after the birth of her first child. She registered for the benefit even though she didn’t anticipate using it right away.

Then one day her husband, who typically works at home, was offered a job interview. The couple couldn’t line up child care on such short notice. “I called Bright Horizons that evening and, by the next morning, we had received a confirmation that they had a sitter for the day of the interview,” Erin said.

Now an advocate for the program, Erin routinely encourages her colleagues to pre-register on the site and create their family profiles now so that they’ll be ready to use it when an urgent need arises.

The Back-up Care Advantage Program is available to benefits-eligible employees of Emory Healthcare and Emory University as well as students in the Laney Graduate School. Each employee/graduate student can receive 10 uses per year with no more than 3 consecutive uses. For each child who receives back-up care in one of the Bright Horizons centers, a use is deducted for each day the child receives care. For in-home care (children or adults), each day is considered one use. The cost to the employee is $15 per day for a child care center or $6 per hour for in-home care.

To Learn More:

  • Emory Healthcare employees: Go to the intranet and click on Employee Resources, then My Benefits. Under Work/Life, select the Child Care Benefits option to learn more about the program and instructions on how to register with Bright Horizons.
  • For Emory University faculty, staff and graduate students: visit the Back-up Care Advantage webpage.