Should I take my incapable parent out of Long Term Care
For the last 15 years or so, I have practiced almost exclusively in Estate Litigation; and a significant part of my practice has been and continues to be Power of Attorney disputes and Guardianship Applications.
Within the last month or so, I have been contacted by both current clients and potential clients with questions relating to their incapable loved ones who happen to be in long-term care facility during the current Covid-19 outbreak.
I have been asked by attorneys and guardians (typically an adult child) whether they should remove their loved one (typically their incapable parent) from such a facility; and I have been asked by other family members (typically the other children of the incapable person who are not the attorney or guardian) whether they can force the attorney or guardian (typically their sibling) to remove their parent from such a facility, or even if the attorney or guardian’s failure or refusal to do so would be cause for their removal as attorney or guardian.
As is so often the case – and as the case with many things Covid-related – there are no definitive answers to these questions. It always depends on the circumstances. The most important questions to ask include:
- Why was my incapable parent placed in the long-term care in the first place? Perhaps their needs were too great for their family members and friends to handle; or perhaps there was no one available to provide the care needed.
- Has that changed? For many of us, life has changed significantly. Most of us are heeding the government’s warnings to stay home. Perhaps that means that someone is now available to provide the care needed.
- Will that change again? Maybe you are at home now because you have been laid off or your business is temporarily closed or because you can work remotely. These circumstances will not last forever – hopefully! – so what happens when you re-open or go back to work? Will your parent need to go back into a facility and if so, will you be able to find a placement at your long-term care facility of choice?
These are just some of the questions you need to consider. There are many more. And you are not the only one with these questions. In fact, these very questions are being asked by thousands of people just like you every day – so often in fact that a group of researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have developed a detailed questionnaire, complete with a pros and cons list, to assist with this question. You can find this at https://decisionaid.ohri.ca/decaids.html
Of course, a questionnaire will likely not answer all of your questions, but it will at least focus you on the questions that you need to consider from a practical perspective.