Many families across Florida have loved ones who need special care. They might be older and unable to fully care for themselves or make their own medical decisions, so the best solution might be to appoint someone to be that person’s guardian. Guardianships can be set up using a family member or trusted family friend, or even with someone who provides this service professionally. Though most professional guardians handle their role responsibly, there are times when that is not the case. One woman who works as a professional guardian was recently accused of providing improper care and the legal system is now working to determine if she broke the law.
The woman is accused of filing a “do not resuscitate” order for a client who had not requested one. A “DNR” means that if a person is under medical care, he or she will not receive CPR if his or her heart stops. The family of one of the woman’s clients say that they did not know the woman had filed this order with the hospital where the client was receiving medical treatment.
A judge decided to revoke all of the DNR orders the woman had filed, which totaled 98. She was removed from those client cases altogether after the county reviewed more than 30 of her cases regarding the sale of client assets and other dealings. The family of the man who died along with other officials hope that this story will prompt a review of the guardianship program by the state.
Though this may be a worst-case scenario, it still shows how vital it is to ensure that guardianships are treated delicately. It is important to consider a guardianship as part of an overall estate plan that can protect a person’s assets and ensure that their wishes for the ends of their lives are honored. An experienced elder law attorney may be the best resource for Florida families who have questions regarding this important issue.