Dietitians and client agreements
Are you a practicing dietitian? Do you have a client agreement in place? If not, it is a worthwhile and simple document that can help to protect your professional practice.
What is your role as dietitian?
A client agreement is a good place to state your process and policies, in writing, and ensure there is no misunderstanding as to what kind of services you will be providing. According to the Dietitians Association of Australia:
“The profession of dietetics contributes to the promotion of health and the prevention and treatment of illness by optimising the nutrition of populations, communities and individuals. Dietitians have a defined and recognisable body of knowledge and utilise scientific principles and methods in the study of nutrition and dietetics, applying these results to influence the wider environment affecting food intake and eating behaviour. The scope of dietetic practice is such that dietitians may work in a variety of settings and have a variety of work functions.”
You may like to choose how to accurately describe your particular practice in your client agreement – a quick summary of how you will consult and make recommendations and support the client towards achieving their health goals.
It is important that the client understands the limits of your service. FOr example, your services are not a substitute for medical care; and you are not claiming to diagnose, treat or alleviate disease.
Ensuring that your agreement sets out that the client is responsible for their own risks when trying new foods and making lifestyle changes, and that the client releases you from liability relating to their sessions with you, except for liability arising from professional gross negligence.
Payment and cancellation fee:
Set out your fee structure clearly for the client to read and understand before they sign on with you. Include things like the initial appointment fee (which may be a larger amount than for a standard consult); requiring payment on the day of appointment; and that there is a cancellation fee of X amount if the client cancels the appointment without 24 (or perhaps 48 hours?) notice.
You will be protecting yourself against both non-payment and clients cancelling at the last moment – once people are aware there is a cancellation fee, they will usually either give adequate notice, or show up for their appointment.
Have the client write their name, date and signature at the bottom of the statement to show they are fully aware and agree to your terms of engagement.
If you would like a professional to draft your client agreement, speak to Sinclair + May. You can book a free 15 minute chat through our website. Your document needs to be legally correct, and depending on your individual practice, certain issues may need to be specified or expanded upon in your client agreement.Go back