When you or your family member finally decide that a nursing home is necessary you do your research, look for the best care and look for the right facilities. But you would never think to look at their record of how many patients they have legal conservatorship over. How would you know? How could you tell? Why are they doing it?
Some have the very legitimate reason of being the only available authority to take care of the patient. No relatives capable, no prior conservator established. However, some of the nursing homes are using the petition for guardianship as a method to make sure their bill is paid without question. The laws around conservatorship were intended to provide for the welfare of the patient but there are ways to bend the intent to this use. Why haven’t you heard more about this? Simple, the records are sealed as a matter of confidentiality for the ‘patient’.
Prior Power of Attorney or medical decision documents may not keep this tactic from taking the authority away from capable and competent people who are doing the best that they can for their family member. Something as simple as a billing dispute over copays can trigger this kind of strong-arm response. Families can end up dealing with court costs as well as continuing care bills. Being prepared with the best advice available is your most secure position.
Do some research and discuss your concerns with an attorney before you decide on which path to take in placement in a continuing care facility. Make as certain as possible that you know your rights, your family member’s rights, and what the law actually intended as well.
Include an appointment to speak with us as part of your planning process.