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This is a nasty family problem, and the POA makes it legal. However, an elder attorney may be able to help. Good luck with this. It's sad when someone abuses their power like that to keep family members in the dark.

Carol
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This POA business works both ways. Your sister's ironclad power brings with it total responsibility for the care of your mother. If your desire to learn more about your mother's condition and treatment is to help out when needed, then you are off the hook. And if you suspect your mother is being mistreated then you need only report details to your local Department for the Aging and your sister will be the primary target of their investigation. Any neglect or abuse, even from someone outside the family will be your sister's responsibility. So just try to maintain a watchful relationship with your mother...keep in contact with her neighbors and friends so they may alert you if anything unusual is going on. Even an ironclad POA cannot prevent you from doing that.
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A durable POA is not the same as a health-care proxy, or even a medical POA. A durable POA only means that she is her power-ot-attorney, and it primarily governs things like financial affairs. It does not mean that other family members have to be kept in the dark about her medical diagnoses and the POA is not related to HIPAA in any way. Your sister is clearly using the POA as a "trump card" to maintain power and control over your mother's affairs; by keeping you in the dark, she feels even more powerful.

A physician has every right to call a family meeting with the elderly parent and all those who might, in any way, be involved in her care. Even under HIPAA, a physician may operate under a "preexisting knowledge" clause and disclose sufficient medical information in order for famly members to make an informed decision or assist in the care of an incompetent elderly person. Why not phone her family physician and request a meeting of your mother and all siblings in the presence of this physician?
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Just want to add a word of advice. With the onset of greater and greater numbers of elderly living today,many lawyers are adding "Geriatric Specialist" to their shingles. One of my brothers went to just such a GS ,who SAT ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of the local ALZHEIMERS FOUNDATION. This guy had his receptionist hold my Mothers hand and mark an X selling her home to my brother for $10. My Mother could not read or write, nor did she understand what she was doing. It took me 2 &1/2 yrs and a small fortune to "correct" the situation. So ask around and make sure you choose an attorney who's not a sleaze bucket.
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if she has poa and the doctor declared her incompentent than their is nothing you can do, sorry, I have poa and a medical power of attorney, my mother gave them to me volunitary, she lives with me and I care for her as my siblings are deadbeats
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Power of Attorney controls $$$$$$$$$$. That's not the same as Guardianship.If your Mom has been declared incompetant ,she should have a guardian of the person appointed by the court, as well as health care proxy etc. What is the REASON for your sister's secrecy and is it or is it not depriving your Mom of of much needed familial support and comfort, or is it protecting her from some sort of interference that would be detrimental to her such as alcoholism or abuse. You should speak w/ an attorney to clarify the situation and if need be , appeal to the courts for intervention.Good Luck to you all. Please try to keep sibling wars from hurting your Mother. She's not the enemy here.God Bless, Have a Merry Christmas.
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The people who have said that POA's are responsible for $ matters only are correct. I am my mom's POA and I know that that has made me responsible for JUST anything to do with Mom's financial matters (collecting rent, paying property taxes, paying income tax, etc. etc.). My sisters AND I were named in a DIFFERENT legal paper to be responsbile for looking after all of Mom's other needs. UNLESS your sister has also been named in a separate legal document to be responsible for all other matter also, she is overstepping her bounds. The rest of the family should ask your sister to show you the document that gives her the right to manage anything more than financial matters for your mother. WHY she would WANT the responsibility of it ALL, I cannot imagine!! Or is the rest of the family EXPECTING her to look after Mother's day-to-day care? If so, that would shed a different light on the matter (though not legally). Personally, I am so thankful I am not responsible for EVERYTHING and am glad I can share some of the responsibility with my sisters. Caring for a parent is a HUGE job!
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"lcs" raises another issue when she said "caring for a parent is a huge job."

Why do people not plan better for their elder years? I am not talking financially, because many people have investments and pensions. I am referring to the day when a person is no longer able to manage their affairs and cannot safely live alone. Everyone seems to live in denial about that day ever coming....yet if you live long enough, it will eventually arrive. We plan for months for an impending birth with great festivities, money spent on a layette and obstetrical visits. By contrast, it seems that very few people plan for their own death, even though it is the only certainty in life.
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Good point, dragonflower. It seems many (most?) people, when they are healthy, think they will just stay healthy and capable forever. And then when they get sick and/or incapable, they become angry that this should be happening to them. Why people don't prepare for their declining years like they prepare for a birth is a good question to ponder. My guess as to the reason for this is that many people dread old age and death so they just put thoughts of it in the darkest back corner of their mind and try to forget it. Many of them also try to avoid being with old or sick people because being with these people reminds them of their own mortality.
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My mother is incompendent, and my sister is the medical POA. The financial part had to be taken over by the govt because my sister abused the finances. Long story short my sister has all the power in the world over my mother and me. In a nursing home ( ontario), she can not allow you to take your mother out of the building, not allow a phone in the room and does not allow the nursing staff to contact you if your mother is ill. The law is just horrendous on the POA issues. My parents when they assigned her the POA were only thinking about life and death issues...not managment. But like some other responder to this said..if they want the Power than they take full responsibility for the patient.
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