Serving as a Guardian During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Serving as a Guardian during the COVID-19 outbreak can be a challenging task. Many of the restrictions put in place to protect all of us, and especially older adults and nursing home residents, can make your job as a guardian very difficult.
The American Bar Association, the National Center for State Courts, and the National Guardianship Association have put together a document outlining frequently asked questions in regards to a Guardian’s responsibilities during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are a few of the document’s top take-aways for you as the guardian:
- Access to My Clients or Loved One in Nursing Homes – While federal guidance restricts in-person visits to residents in nursing homes, you have a responsibility to maintain contact and monitor well-being through remote access.
- Access to My Clients or Loved One in Residential Groups Settings and Hospitals – State requirements may restrict in-person visits to residents in residential group settings, and federal guidance sets limits on visits to hospital patients, but you have a responsibility to maintain contact and monitor well-being through remote access.
- Protections and Services for My Clients or Loved One in the Community – Maintain contact with your client or loved one in the community, and make sure he or she gets services and supports to maintain health and well-being.
- Access to Courts – Each state determines its own procedures during the pandemic. While many are placing a priority on keeping courts open for cases involving the protection of vulnerable individuals, hearings may be delayed or conducted remotely, and there may be changes in requirements for timelines, notices, and submission of reports.
- Protecting the Rights and Well-Being of My Clients or Loved One – The rights of your client or loved one have not changed, but the pandemic makes it more difficult to exercise certain rights. Take actions to ensure the person receives fair health care treatment, facilities follow safety protocols, and support the individual during this difficult time.
- Protecting the Medical Decisions for My Clients or Loved One – Work with health care providers to ensure that the health care choices and values of your client or loved one are respected.
- Protecting the Finances of My Clients or Loved One – As guardian of the estate, ensure that your client receives all COVID-19 and other benefits for which he or she is eligible; develop and implement a financial plan that is flexible enough to accommodate demands due to COVID-19; and manage investments and financial affairs with increased vigilance during the pandemic.
- Safety Precautions – Take steps to make sure you are not exposed to or transmitting illness, and to respond if your client or loved one is exposed to COVID-10, shows symptoms, or is hospitalized. Be alert to COVID-19 frauds or scams.
If you are serving as a guardian, be sure and check out the full document by clicking here.
For assistance establishing a guardianship or to answer further questions, contact a certified elder law attorney, such as Linda Strohschein and her team at Strohschein Law Group. To set up an appointment, contact Strohschein Law Group at 630-377-3241.