Whether your family member will be cared for by another family member or an outside person, a caregiver contract is essential to prevent future problems. This written document ensures that all parties are on the same page regarding the role of the caregiver and how that individual will be compensated. It also protects the family from any possible grievances or legal issues that arise.
Have a Family Meeting
The first step in writing a caregiver contract is assessing what kind of care your family member needs. Hold a family meeting to discuss the tasks and duties that you would like to caregiver to take on. If the caregiver is a family member, designate a person who can assist in communicating important information to the entire family. For an outside caregiver, agree on who will be responsible for communicating with and paying the caregiver. Establish a schedule for regular meetings, when the whole family can meet and make any changes or decisions to the home care situation. Discuss how the cost of the caregiver will be covered and if it will be divided among family members. Even if the caregiver is a family member, it is important to talk about how the family will help him or her pay for expenses.
Clearly Outline Tasks and Duties
Specify what tasks and duties are expected of the caregiver to avoid future problems and misinterpretations. Include detailed descriptions of services to be provided, such as grocery shopping or cooking meals, and how often these services should take place. It is a good idea to have a discussion about this with the caregiver-to-be ahead of time to make sure that he or she is in agreement with what is detailed in the contract. When a family member will be acting as a caregiver, make sure he or she knows the exact commitments entailed along with how much support can be expected from the rest of the family.
Include Wages and Expenses
A caregiver contract should always include how much the caregiver will be paid for his or her services and if there will be reimbursement for additional expenses, such as gas or food. It is important to make sure that a family member acting as caregiver receives appropriate compensation. Most states offer programs that use a Medicaid waiver to allow direct federal payments to family caregivers for their services, according to the December 2011 AARP bulletin. Find out if your family member is eligible to have his or her caregiver expenses covered by the government.
Outline Other Terms and Conditions
It's important to not leave any room for misinterpretation or potential problems in your caregiver contract. Outline how long the contract will be valid and how often it needs to be renewed. Specify how much notice needs to be given by the caregiver or the receiver to terminate the contract and if written notice needs to be provided. Stipulate how any issues that arise will be handled. For example, specify that "caregiver can present any grievances in the monthly family meeting."