As POA, am I legally responsible if my Dad hurts himself when he's alone?

Follow
Share

A social worker informed me today that because I have Durable Power of Attorney for my father, who has dementia, that if I leave him alone and anything happens, I am legally responsible. I had no idea this was the case. I assume this would fall under the category of neglect. Does anyone know if this is in fact the case and what I might be exposing myself to as POA if I don't make sure someone is with him 24/7. I had no idea when I agreed to the POA in 2008 (I've been his only care-giver since February, 2012) that this was even something that was possible.

He is currently on hospice for something unrelated to the dementia and I did ask if this was only while he was on hospice (turns out he's fine and they jumped the gun placing him on hospice so he'll likely be discharged soon) and she said its really because of the dementia and that if I didn't have DPOA it would be different!

Now I'm freaking out because I do leave him alone because I think he's okay for a few hours (and the doctors have agreed with me although I'll be asking again tomorrow).

I even called Adult Protective Services to ask them, but they didn't pick up.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
6

Answers

Show:
I agree with Pam. When my mother lived with us, both my husband and I worked full time. I was only a phone call away. When she started falling, we bought an alert button. It came to a point, however, when the doctor told me she had to be placed under 24/7 care. SW seems to be creating fear in her clients.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I've also never heard of a POA being held responsible for their loved one's fall just because they are POA. Not only have I've never heard of it but it sounds ridiculous! If this were the case no one would ever be POA for anyone because of the liability.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Update: the family doctor said he's never heard of a SW or anyone saying anything of the sort, but that it's more of a legal question. He also said to put him in a nursing home, I'd have to have him declared incompetent, the DPoA may bot be enough so to me, that raises questions how each party is defining competence. He said he knows I take good care of him and said he was writing everything down, including the fact that I do periodically check with him about his decline and leaving him alone. He thinks its fine since he's not bedridden and is not yet forgetful of where he is in the home. I felt better after that, but still need to get a legal understanding of it all. I'm really not happy with the SW at all.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Keep written documents that the Dr stated he would be fine for a short time alone. Also, start thinking of having someone there when you are not, this will hopefully protect you and your father. Keep checking with Adult Services and I agree with GardenArtist and pamstegman. Goodluck
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your responsibilites and obligations are dictated by the terms of the DPOA, which if drafted by a good attorney would address issues of responsibility. Some folks use online DPOAs, so there's no telling what's in them and what's not.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

The Social Worker is using FOG- Fear Obligation Guilt to try to cover her own axx. If she is so worked up about this she can work on finding him a nursing home. If the MD agrees he is OK for a few hours, fine. Overnight, maybe not so fine. Pretty soon this will be a 24/7 battle with dementia. At that point you might seriously consider a Memory Care facility, because no single person can carry that load.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.