How can I direct my mother's medical care if others are named in her power of attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 11, 2013
Want mommy asked...

My aunt and uncle have power of attorney for my mother, so I don't have a say as to any of her care. What can I do as an only child?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

You are probably feeling a bit slighted because you weren't the one named to supervise your mother's medical care. And that would be natural.

But you don't mention whether you think your aunt and uncle are making bad decisions on your mother's behalf. If you feel strongly that they are, there are a number of steps you can take.

First, discuss the situation with them. It's worth it to try to change your aunt and uncle's minds or their approach, even if your relationship with them is strained. After all, you should all be dedicated to the same thing: making sure your mother gets the most fitting care possible. And if you have inside information about your mother's preferences, that may actually help them do their job better.

If that discussion doesn't help, you may try talking directly with your mother's care providers. Whether or not you are named as the attorney in fact, many doctors will at least be interested in hearing the thoughts and preferences of a patient's offspring.

If your mother is hospitalized, there may be an internal procedure for handling such differences of opinion; ask a patient representative about the possibilities.

Another course to take, whether or not you think your aunt and uncle are doing a good job, is to settle in and respect your mother's choice in naming them to do this task. Concentrate your efforts on things that you, as your mother's only child, can do best: spending time at her bedside reading her favorite book aloud, looking at old photos together and reminisce, giving her your patented foot rub.

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