As a nursing home or other long-term care facility, your company’s primary objective is to meet the needs of its residents. Sometimes, the declining cognitive function of one of your facility’s residents affects his or her ability to manage health care, finances and obligations to your company.
Sometimes, diminished capacity presents itself in an inability to make payments from income a resident receives. Other times, a resident’s inability to manage the Medicaid application process is a sign he or she needs help. Also, the resident may be unable to make health care decisions.
Can your business seek appointment of guardians for residents who are incapable of making their own decisions?
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE FAMILY TO SERVE AS A GUARDIAN
The Pennsylvania courts can appoint an non-relative to serve as guardian for your mentally incapacitated resident. Ideally, the person concerned enough to seek guardianship is a family member of the aging adult going through cognitive decline.
However, sometimes family members do not live nearby or do not have the resources necessary to serve as a guardian for an aging loved one. Other times, relatives are not interested in doing so. When family members fail to act, your facility may petition for guardianship to protect the resident.
Professional guardians must meet the same standards as familial guardians would, such as passing a criminal background check. Once appointed, they will then have the authority to make decisions about the resident’s health care or about their assets, or both.
PROVING THE INDIVIDUAL’S LACK OF TESTAMENTARY CAPACITY TO THE COURTS
A pressing issue for guardianship is the need to conclusively show the individual lacks mental capacity to make decisions. Medical records, personal testimony and even financial records can help show that the resident is no longer capable of managing his or her financial and personal affairs.
Thankfully, as the facility providing care for older adults, you are in a unique position to document how residents struggle with health care decisions and financial responsibilities. Kennedy, P.C. Law Offices attorneys can help you decide whether guardianship is a good option and, when it is, to pursue guardianship for your mentally incapacitated residents.