The caregiver agreement is a written agreement entered into between a person providing care and a person in need of care. A caregiver agreement can be between a parent, i.e., the client and an adult child, a friend, or a close relative, i.e., the caregiver, agreeing to provide specific caregiver services as defined in the agreement.
A well-drafted caregiver agreement should specify the type of services that the caregiver should provide and at what cost.
What is a Caregiver Contract?
A caregiver contract, also referred to as a personal care agreement, personal service contracts, or elder care contracts, is an agreement that ensures that the caregivers are fully protected from any misunderstandings or arguments resulting from the type of services that they are offering and that they understand what they are expected to do and their responsibilities as caregivers.
Even though this type of contract is usually between family members, the two parties do not need to be related as the contract only sets to clarify and establish a relationship between the caregiver and the care recipient. This agreement outlines the type of services to be offered, when and where they will be provided, and includes the compensation rate and the frequency of payment for all the services rendered.
What is the purpose of a legal caregiver agreement?
There are several reasons why one should have a legal caregiver agreement, including:
- Caregiver agreements help in defining the duties and responsibilities of the caregiver, helping the family avoid conflicts
- Caregiver contracts help all the parties involved to recognize and reward the time and effort that one has dedicated to care
- Caregiver contracts contain a well-written organization of care and other basic services that can easily be adjusted to fit the needs of the care recipient.
What to Include in your Caregiver Contract?
Some basic items should be included in all caregiver contracts, including:
The service start date:
All caregiver agreements should have a date when the care services are set to commence
List of all the care services:
The contract should specify the types of services being offered by the caregiver to avoid any misunderstandings
Frequency of service:
How often will the services be rendered? The contract should clearly specify the frequency of the services to help in determining the pay per service offered
A legal and financial plan:
how will the payments for the services offered to be made? How frequently will the payments be made? The agreement should specify this section to avoid any quarrels over delayed payments
A termination clause:
all caregiver agreements should have a termination clause. The contract should have a provision for how, when, and why the services may be terminated.
Backup plan for caregiver’s absence:
Who will be in charge in the event that the caregiver is not available or is unable to offer his or her services? The contract should have this provision to ensure that the care patient is always receiving the services that have been listed in the contract.
How Often Should the Caregiver Contract be Updated?
It is advisable to review the caregiver agreement at least once a year; this is according to the American Bar Association (ABA). Doing this will enable you to update the services listed in the agreement to reflect the current needs and responsibilities of the caregiver. For instance, if someone is hospitalized, it is important to constantly review the agreement to ensure that it reflects the current duties and responsibilities of the caregiver.
How to Create a Caregiver Contract?
When creating a caregiver agreement, you should keep in mind that caregiving is a job. Understand that the caregiver is entering into an employment arrangement where the person under care is their employer, and they are the employee. Start with a job description detailing the duties and responsibilities of the caregiver. Here is what to cover in your caregiver agreement:
NOTE: The caregiver agreement should be in writing and should be signed by both parties involved.
Include a start date for services:
The caregiver agreement should have a specific date for when the services are set to start. The start date should not be retroactive. Normally, caregiver agreements can be for a specific period or indefinitely, depending on the type of care offered.
Services being offered:
The caregiver services can be very long, from cooking meals, doing laundry, housekeeping to offering personal assistance such as toileting, walking, dressing, etc.; all the services to be offered should be listed in the agreement to avoid any arguments or inconveniences.
How much will you be paying the caregiver for their services? When will they be paid? This is a crucial area that should be appropriately reviewed before settling on a specific rate.
How many hours is the caregiver required to work? When setting the number of hours that the caregiver is supposed to work when offering their services, try and be as realistic as possible. Remember that they are human and that they need not be overworked.
Are there any other benefits that the caregiver is set to receive? Talk about handling their health insurance costs, their vacation time, and if they will enjoy paid sick days in the agreement.
The caregiver agreement must have a provision allowing for the agreement’s modification and a clause stating how, when, and why the agreement may be terminated.
Legalities of Making a Caregiver Contract
When entering into a caregiver relationship, there are several legal things that one must consider, including:
- The caregiver agreement must be drafted and signed by both parties before any services are rendered
- The caregiver agreement must contain a comprehensive list of all the services that are to be offered by the caregiver.
- The agreement must contain the amount that the caregiver is to be paid after fulfilling their end of the offer.
- The contract has to be signedby the parties involved, and the dates of signing included
- The signatures must be notarized at the time of signing the caregiver agreement
Free Caregiver Agreement Templates
Below are some caregiver templates that you can use to make sure that you have covered all the elements when writing your caregiver agreement. Choose and download one that suits you best to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions
Remember that once the adult child, friend, or relative agrees to be a caregiver, they are entering into some form of employment, and making it official, the agreement should be signed by both parties. Some states require that the agreement be notarized for validity purposes.
A personal care agreement is an agreement between a family member who agrees to be a caregiver for their aging or disabled relatives. Typically, personal agreements are usually between a parent and an adult child, a friend, or a close relative.
Most families are likely to contact their attorney after caring for a family member for several months without any pay. As a family member’s medical condition deteriorates, caregivers may find that they need to be compensated for the increased level of care and attention needed. Lawyers can draft the agreement for the services being offered going forward. The caregiver, however, cannot be compensated for care that they offered gratuitously. When amid a massive storm, it may be hard to see the right thing that needs to be done. Having a caregiver agreement can help a family stay focused, in full control, and avoid costly penalties.