Q: An elderly friend is being kept in a rehabilitation facility against her will. Who can help?
She became critically ill 3 months ago. She was hospitalized then sent to a rehabilitation facility when she began to recover. Her daughter has a medical power of attorney. She has been okayed by her doctors for release but her daughter will not allow the facility to do so. The daughter (and other family members) took all of her belongings including her car, personal IDs and records and have left her destitute and imprisoned.
A: Other than your friend herself, the only person who can decide where she lives is a guardian of her person. An agent under a Medical Power of Attorney does not have this authority. An agent under a Medical Power of Attorney only has the authority to convey someone's wishes when they cannot communicate. Your friend might want to call Adult Protective Services (though completing the online form is faster) and contact an elder lawyer. She can find one near her on the website of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org).
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