Most Recent Elder Law Articles

Hospital Trying to Revoke Daughter's Power of Attorney

Last Updated: 11/29/10

In an effort to discharge an elderly patient, a Chicago hospital is going to court to revoke the power of attorney of the patient's daughter and substitute it with a guardianship.

Dolores Bedin, 86, has terminal pancreatic cancer. Northwestern Memorial Hospital maintains that Dolores has been able to leave since September 18, and the hospital is absorbing the cost of her care because Medicare regards the hospitalization as medically unnecessary.

But Janet Bedin, who is her mother's agent under her power of attorney, strongly disagrees that her mother is able to go home and has so far successfully blocked the hospital's discharge attempts. Janet, a businesswoman whose work involves travel, worries that she won't be able to adequately care for her frail mother at home. Unless her mother impoverishes herself and goes on Medicaid, there is little help the state can offer. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the elder Bedin has been the primary caregiver for a disabled son.

The hospital is asking the court to appoint a public guardian for Dolores on the grounds that Janet is not acting in her mother's best interests by cooperating with the hospital's efforts to discharge her mother.

"She's my daughter," Dolores says of Janet. "I want her to make decisions for me. She's backing me up. They want to give me somebody who doesn't know me."

"You have a complicated situation," Suzanne Mintz, president of the National Family Caregivers Association, told the Chicago Tribune. "It's about logistics. It's about services. It's about money. (Caregiving) is a very difficult thing to figure out, especially if you're working. It's difficult enough to figure it out for one person. (Janet Bedin is) figuring it out for two people."

To read the entire Chicago Tribune article, click here.

UPDATE: Faced with losing power of attorney over her mother, Janet Bedin agreed to allow Dolores Bedin to be discharged from the hospital. For details, click here.

To discuss powers of attorney or other elder law issues with an attorney, please email the Elder Law Center or call 630-844-0065. The Elder Law Center is located in Aurora, IL, Kane County, in the Chicago Western Suburbs.