My sister claims to have POA, can she, along with the hospital keep us out?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Over the last week, my mother has had a debilitating stroke, and is going to pass very soon. My sister claims to have POA, and is trying to force us, along with the duty nurse right now, to leave the room. No explanation why. Can she/they force us out and keep us out, just because my sister says she wants that? Also, knowing that my sister is self-medicating heavily, is there something we can do to force POA out of her hands in into a joint family POA? Mom doesn't have long to live, and my sister isn't letting my moms sisters and brothers, or any other family in to say goodbye. Any and all help is appreciated!

Expert Answer

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.

There are some legal steps you could take"”contesting your sister's authority as your mother's agent or petitioning to have other people put into authority.

But given the realities of your likely time constraints, your better move may be to appeal directly to the hospital ombudsman, an impartial person assigned to smooth over problems between a facility and its patients. You should be able to locate this person or office fairly easily through the hospital's directory or the designated Patient Representative.

Keep in mind what you what to accomplish with your mother's best interests in mind"”and be prepared to offer some tangible solutions for making it possible: perhaps a designated visiting schedule for family members"”or a more clear explanation of your other's wishes for her final care.