How can I speak to medical professionals on my mother’s behalf?

Q: My mother, 57, is receiving medical care through the VA of Michigan. I live in PA. My mother is having a hard time with the VA and isn’t emotionally capable of dealing with them. She suffers from PTSD and multiple other physical and mental ailments. She recently received a hip transplant/surgery through the VA. As previously stated, she lives with a roommate who is incapable of providing my mother with proper medical care. She needs in-home medical rehabilitation, as is normal after a major surgery. The VA has not provided her with in home care but scheduled her physical therapy through another VA facility. She was notified that her physical therapy would be canceled as she wasn’t cleared for it due to lack of post-surgery rehabilitation, which she was not provided with in the first place. This is just one instance of a situation where I feel my mother would benefit from my assistance. While I cannot assist my mother physically as we are states away from each other, it would benefit her if I could at least speak to her medical caregivers on her behalf. Does POA grant this ability, or another legal process? (Bentleyville, PA)

A: If your mother is competent, she can sign a General Durable Power of Attorney to you as well as a Medical Power of Attorney. If she is not competent to sign, or if the circumstances warrant it, you could petition the court to be her Guardian, which is much more involved than a POA. I would consult with an attorney in her area in Michigan.

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