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My dad did a durable power of attorney for healthcare for my sister to act on his behalf. Does our step mother have any say at all now, regarding his health care? He didn't trust her and now he's sick and we are worried. They live in Texas. Denise

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HI Denise...
Just to be clear, is it your step mother that your father did not trust?
I wanted to be clear on what the desired result is here but in the end it really doesn't matter in that medical personnel will turn first to the wife for directive UNLESS the healthcare POA is exercised. Once the POA is invoked step-mom will not have input unless the POA requests it.
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Legally, no. However, health care people such as nurses, doctors etc. may assume that your step-mom is the go-to person for decisions. You haven't said if your sister with DPOA or you, live near your father. Or, if he is in a facility getting care or receiving care at home by professionals. If you or your sister are a distance away...that could add to the confusion or lack of knowledge concerning the chain of command. It needs to be made clear and repeated to those providing care that your sister is the DPOA and is the one to go to for decisions. Your dad could also point this out to them, if able. She should provide a copy of the DPOA to the care providers as well as her contact information. If you live near by, you could probably watch over the situation and make sure everyone knows who is the decision maker...and note this at every facility or care source that he comes in contact with.
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Get in touch with the attorney who drew up the document or call an Elder Care attorney. A lot of "if's" here. Don't burn the bridges with your step mom - you may need her caregiving help at some point. Dad must have a good reason not to trust her, but if she is living in the home with him, you don't know for sure what has gone on. If you're worried and can't be there yourself, call Adult Protective Services to make a visit; suggest you have another person you can trust to be present when they make the visit. This can be a very sticky situation - I know - I've lived it too. Keep posting with your updates. Blessings.
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When my dad was in the hospital I had stopped at the nurse's station and inquired about my dad's condition, the head nurse spoke to me and advised me that he was in grave condition. My dad and I on numerous accounts had spoke openly about his wishes so I knew what to do. Although we never had anything done in writing it was just an expectation that I was to see to his care. We did not anticipate anything as he was just 65 and didn't see a rush. My dad was totally incoherent so I had to make a decision on his behalf so I signed the DNR as per his wishes. Now this is where it gets sticky, my dad was divorced from his wife but even though they were legally divorced they still resided in the same home. Two days later with no knowledge of where my dad's ex-wife even was I went to see my dad, the head nurse came in and told me that my dad's wife was disputing the DNR that I had signed. My dad's ex-wife was in the same hospital in the mental ward with another nervous break down, not the first. I explained to the head nurse that she had no say because they were legally divorced and besides that she was in no way mentally capable to make a logical choice. But under the law because they still cohabitated in the same home she was recognized as being his commonwell wife. Now I had a fight on my hands because her knowing full well what my dad's wishes were as she was present during these conversations, she was going against me. I was ready for the fight though and she knew how stubborn I could be, I was going to go to the justice of the peace and get a POA put in place. The head nurse knew that I was right in regards to her mental capacity and she knew that he was not going to make it, so the nurse took it upon herself to go and get her and bring her to see the condition that my dad was in. Having done that I quietly explained to her that he was not going to get any better and that he did not want any manipulation done. Thank God I was able to get through to her and didn't have to go to the justice of the peace for the POA, the DNR remained in tack. My point is here is if they were going to respect the wishes of someone who was mentally incapable to make a decision like this then the wife does have an upper hand. Just make sure that all your paper work is in order, that you have dotted your i's and crossed your t's because things can get way messy real fast.
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The person with the durable POA should be in charge. However, the step mother might do an end around if allowed. Whoever has the POA needs to be on site and taking up the load of paying bills, arranging care etc.
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Whoever gets to the hospital first with the proper documents to prove their authority will get their say. Nurses and doctors are caught in the middle. Carry the papers with you.
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No. There is only one POA until the donor's death occurs.
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Keep in mind the POA for health issues only kicks in if your dad is not in his right mind and able to make decisions for himself. If he is not able, then your sister needs to be there to invoke the POA and needs to call the hospital, fax a copy of the POA and tell them she is on her way. If she doesn't go and decisions need to be made and she's not reachable, then the Dr's and Nurses just might look to his wife for orders on what to do for her husband. If your dad is able to make his own decisions, then the POA won't come into play.
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Dustien, would that also be true if the POA is a blanket one that covers both health and financial? My Dad goes in and out of being able to reason correctly, and I worry the POA might not always consult him about matters even when he is feeling smart, the argument being that he will use that information when he is not feeling smart and cause problems. On the other hand, Dad has a right to make his own decisions when he is able. What responsibility does the POA have to inform Dad of what is going on? Now there is talk of putting the house in the son's name (the POA) which is actually a good idea because in a bad state, Dad could sell it or "invest" it. But I think that when he is feeling reasonable he would agree this is a good idea and ought to be consulted. Perhaps the best idea is to put 51% in the son's (POA)'s name so that Dad can't sell it. I hope this isn't off topic.
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