Example of Topics Covered in an Alternate Agreeement

Name, address and contact details of therapists
Date of the agreement
Start and end dates of agreement period, or a statement that the agreement is in force until revoked by agreement
A statement describing when the alternate is required to act (for example, one or more of the following)

  • The therapist who is unable to work asks for the alternate to act
  • The next of kin of the therapist ask the alternate to act
  • The alternate believes they should act, but hasn’t been asked, and approaches either the therapist or their next of kin

Circumstances in which the alternate acts (for example: one or more of the following)

  • When the therapist is unable to see clients due to illness or family or other crisis
  • When the therapist has died
  • Some other circumstance in which the therapist is suddenly unavailable

What the alternate is supposed to do, (For example, one or more of the following)

  • Contact the clients of the therapist (and how this is to be done, eg phone, email etc)
  • Explain the circumstances under which the therapist is unable to be available
  • Offer short term emergency holding if necessary
  • Assist the clients in finding another therapist if necessary
  • If the alternate is to assist in finding another therapist for the clients, whether the that alternative can be the therapist themselves
  • If the alternate provides short term emergency cover, a statement that the alternate will make clear to clients that their contract is still with the original therapist
  • If the alternate provides short term emergency cover, where is the alternate is to meet the therapist’s clients, or if not a face to face meeting, how the meeting is to take place

Any financial aspects that need to be covered (For example, one or more of the following)

  • Any fee to be paid to the alternate for this agreement
  • Where the alternate provides short term emergency cover, whether some or all of the fee received from the client is payable to the therapist
  • Whether a payment is to be made for the referral of clients that transfer to the alternate, or to another therapist, and if so, what is the payment

Any considerations relating to insurance

Any considerations regarding client files and records, for example

  • Alternate’s access to the therapist’s previous notes made regarding the clients who the alternate is to see
  • Arrangements regarding notes and records made by the alternate while providing short term emergency cover
  • Arrangement for the retention or destruction of files, or passing to new therapist

Where the alternate can locate details of current clients (for example: a list of current clients’ first names and their phone numbers regularly updated and in secure location)

Notes:

Don’t want something so formal? Use this as a basis for a discussion with a colleague.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, merely suggestions about what might be included or considered.

Neither does an agreement have to cover all these issues. Decide what you want between you, and then take a note of what you have agreed

When drawing up any agreement it is advisable to take appropriate professional advice and to have regard to the specific licensing and professional requirements within which the practice operates