Guardianship, conservatorship, trustee, power of attorney, agent, healthcare surrogate and other critical decision-making positions in the life of a senior or an adult with disabilities are a complicated mixture of ethics, law and common sense. Many caregivers, however, have little or no training in these areas and can find themselves in awkward and unnerving positions.
The Caregiver Foundation deals with these issues every day and adheres to standards established by many professional organizations. This does not mean all decisions are easy or that they are well-received. Here are some quick filters to use when you need to make decisions for someone in your care.
1. Identify what kind of authority allows you to make decisions for another person. POA? Guardianship? Healthcare surrogate? Be sure you know what your authority allows.
2. Are you making decisions or carrying out decisions? When your senior has defined issues early, preferably in writing, you are carrying out decisions. If you’re not sure you’re making decisions based on their wants, only then should you make decisions based on what you determine to be in their best interest.