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Does My Mother's Agent Under a Medical Power of Attorney Have Any Responsibility to Me?
My mother is in a nursing home. Does the woman who is acting as an agent under my mother's medical power of attorney have any responsibility to my brother and me? She doesn't like us, and I am afraid she won't notify us if something happens to my mom. She has already told the nurses not to let me take my mom downstairs to get some fresh air, which is not a medical issue.
Technically, the person named on a medical power of attorney or health care proxy has a duty only to the patient, not to the patient's family. That said, it's certainly better for all concerned if decisions can be made as a team. As you suggest, the question of taking your mother outside is not necessarily a medical issue, so it’s a question as to whether it comes under the scope of the medical power of attorney. Depending on your state’s laws, this may be a gray area, which is all the more reason for everyone to work together. I’d suggest asking the social worker at your mother’s facility to convene a meeting with you, your brother, and the medical power of attorney to discuss how to best care for your mother.
For more information about health care proxies, click here.