Can a hospice agency decide on a back-up or secondary guardian?

Q: I am a hospice Social Worker with a patient who appointed a friend as his guardian. This friend has numerous health problems herself and is often in the hospital. Our medical director wants us to establish a secondary or back up guardian. Can our agency set this up on behalf of the patient?

A: If this patient is competent, perhaps he or she can sign a Power of Attorney, appointing someone else to act. If that is not possible, a court appointed guardian is necessary. Only the court can appoint a guardian. The process requires a written petition to be filed and a hearing to be held. Your agency will need an attorney to do this. Many agencies work with attorneys who handle this. If your agency has no attorney, you can seek one independently or call Orphan’s Court for information on how to obtain one.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.