Q: What happens when my stepmother is POA and does not allow me to visit my elderly father at their residence?
I suspect something is wrong at my elderly father’s home. My stepmother is the POA. I went to visit him and he was covered in bruises including a black eye. She said he suffered from a stroke 4 days earlier and he told her he did not want to go to the hospital. Is that even legal? When I questioned her why I couldn’t get a phone call she became very defensive. I have suspected over medication for at least a year. As of right now she said I am no longer allowed to visit my father at their house. What are my rights as a daughter? He receives hospice at home. I have no other way to see him and I’m worried about his condition worsening.
A: Report the bruises to Adult Protective Services immediately (before they fade) and ask the hospice workers to do the same. A stroke does not cause bruises.
Also report that your stepmother is denying your father access to other family members. An agent under a POA, financial or medical, does not have that authority.
If you think that your father no longer has legal capacity to make his own decisions, talk with an elder law attorney about applying for guardianship (which trumps a POA). You can find one near you using the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org).
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