When a guardian or conservator is appointed for an adult person (the ward), the guardian’s responsibility is to make decisions based on the welfare of the ward, regardless of the type of decision that has to be made.
In the following case, a non-family member guardian’s decision to keep her ward in an assisted living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic was legally challenged by one of the ward’s daughters.
Details of the Case
Court proceedings were initiated by two adult daughters to appoint a guardian for their 79-year-old mother. The court proceedings found that the mother had dementia, was disabled, and was unable to care for “her person and property.”
The court found that there was “good cause” not to appoint either of the daughters as their mother’s guardian due to their “lack of credibility and the acrimony between them.”
Instead, the court appointed a woman who was the director of an agency on aging as the personal guardian. One of the daughters appealed the decision, but the special court of appeals affirmed the trial court decision.
One of the daughters then filed an emergency motion to temporarily change her mother’s current residence from an assisted living facility to her own home. She alleged, among other things, that:
- She had safety concerns for her mother due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The county in which the assisted living facility was located had a high rate of cases and deaths due to COVID-19.
- Residents in long-term care facilities were very vulnerable to COVID-19.
- The facility was small, so maintaining safe distancing would be impossible unless residents were kept in their rooms most of the day.
The guardian opposed the daughter’s motion, stating that:
- There were no COVID-19 cases among the facility’s 75 residents.
- The governor had ordered people to shelter in place and had not recommended any resident changes to those in nursing homes.
- The daughter’s motion included no details about any care plan for the mother, no information on the daughter and her husband’s health, and whether it was intended to re-admit the mother to the facility once the pandemic was over.
- The mother’s physician submitted a statement that it would be inadvisable for the mother to change residency at the time due to her need for constant care, including medication administration.
- Moving a resident out of the facility and then back would place that resident and others at risk.
Amid additional, unfounded claims by the daughter that the assisted living facility was unsanitary and that the mother had suffered abuse at the home, she asked for a hearing on her motion.
The court denied her motion without a hearing. The daughter appealed that decision, arguing the decision was an abuse of discretion by the court.
Appellate Court Decision
Among other statements, the court stated that it was the daughter’s burden of proving that a change from the assisted living facility to her home was in the mother’s best interest. The daughter did not meet this burden.
It also cited state case law that a personal guardian has the legal authority to establish a ward’s residence …read more
Read full article here: nurse.com