Who is responsible for my brother, who has severe dementia, if the nursing home asks him to leave?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 24, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have a single older brother diagnosed with severe dementia. Through the VA, he has qualified for SSA disability and was placed in a nursing facility. The nursing home takes a portion of his disability for payment and ACCESS pays the rest. We have a medical power of attorney and a financial power of attorney that we used when we cared for him at home, but at this time do not wish to be solely responsible for him. There is no legal guardianship or conservatorship. If the nursing home chooses to ask him to leave, whose responsibility is it to take him?

Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com 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 is no law that specifies that a particular person must be responsible for taking care of another -- and it sounds like a fairly onerous task in the case of your brother. So while you surely did much soul-searching to reach the decision you did, you are wise to recognize and admit when you are no longer the best fit for the job.

As you intimated, the probably best option to take is to secure a guardianship or conservatorship for your brother, in which another person will be designated to supervise his care and living arrangements. The nursing home should wait until this is in place before discharging him.

If there is no family member or friend willing and able to take this post, a court can appoint a private conservator or guardian to care for your brother upon a showing that he is unable to provide properly for his own personal needs. Check to see whether your local probate court has a website or self-help law center that will give you background information and guidance in this matter.

You might also contact staff at the VA to find out whether your brother qualifies for alternative funding or support.