Contracts for Geriatric Caregivers: What do You Need?

Caregiver and Elderly PersonWhether you are hiring someone privately, or you have hired a family member to care for an aging loved one, it is important that you realize this is a business transaction. This person is being hired and compensated for caring for your relative. Therefore, you need to treat it like any other business arrangement – including having a written contract with that party.

Elderly individuals living at home often require some form of assistance while there. The person taking that responsibility to meet the needs of your loved one can do everything from supervising their care to providing cleaning and meal services.

After you have agreed on compensation, which should be realistic hourly wages compared to other service providers, you need to draft a contract.

Why Do I Need a Formal Caregiver Contract?

The caregiver contract allows you to hire a family member to care for a loved one at-home and be compensated for their time and services. These agreements recognize and reward the person for their service. Also, it ensures that loved ones are guaranteed formal care.

A contract is essential because:

  • It reduces any misunderstandings or family feuds over who takes responsibility for the loved one.
  • Compensation for services rendered is written down and formalized so that no disputes arise.
  • Long-term care insurance can also cover such services, even if a family member renders them.
  • A well-drafted contract can also avoid the costly delays of government benefits.

The Elements of a Quality Caregiver Contract

When drafting a contract, it should not only follow the formalities but include all applicable laws for the state. Items that you must include in your contract are:

  • Time and Services – You must specify the time and what associated duty must be performed. If you have specific items that a caregiver must complete, these must be listed in the contract so that it is agreed upon that the caregiver will do them.
  • Hours of Work and Schedule – A strict schedule should be drafted, just as you would with normal employment. The hours of work should be included, such as start and stop times. Days off should also be specified including how holiday care would be handled.
  • Compensation Rate – The rate of compensation must be included in your contract to ensure no disputes over wages arise. Compensation can be in hourly, or you can opt for a salary amount, but put in a disclaimer that hours must be met to receive salary wages.
  • Employment Benefits – If you have a full-time caregiver, you are required to provide benefits. Therefore, you must have a description of all benefits given to the caregiver outlined in the contract.
  • Termination Conditions – While you might not intend to terminate the agreement, you need termination conditions which would allow the caregiver to cancel their work contract and any associated penalties that might apply in doing so.
  • Reimbursement – If your caregiver encounters expenses, you must include all reimbursement procedures for the care-related costs he or she experiences.
  • Substitutes – If the primary caregiver is sick or unavailable, what will be the procedure for replacing them with an alternative, and who will be responsible for finding that substitute or backup caregiver?

Speak with a Long Island Elder Law Attorney for Your Contract

It is best to have a local attorney draft the caregiver contract for you. A lawyer understands local statutes that apply to your caregiver arrangement and can ensure you have a solid contract that protects all parties involved.

Schedule a free consultation with the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. to discuss your contract needs by calling him at 516-605-0625 or by requesting more information online.

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