There are many ways a good guardian can have a positive impact on the life of the person under guardianship. Guardianship appointments transfer an individual’s rights to the guardian but that is not always the end of the story. Nor in some cases should it be. The National Standards of Practice advise the guardian to support the person in the least restrictive alternative and to be informed about the individual’s wishes and needs.
“C” is a 67 year old woman from Puerto Rico. She has no family in this Midwest state to assist her. She had a severe stroke last winter that was quite debilitating. The hospital discharged her to a nursing home for rehabilitation. While she was more impaired, the physician requested a guardian of the person to help with medical treatment decisions. The court agreed and appointed a guardian to support her as she worked on recovering.
Over time and with therapy “C” has greatly improved and she would like to return to the community to live in an apartment again The guardian has been sensitive to her progress and has recently been working with staff and others to refer “C” for a competency assessment, as her capacity for decisions is much better. The guardian is also working on finding a place for “C” to live in a less restrictive, more appropriate setting. While recovering from the stroke, “C” needed the guardian’s assistance.
Soon it may be possible to end the guardianship and return her legal capacity to make her own decisions and live independently in the community.