There are some fairly recent changes to Texas guardianship law that affect health care practitioners. It is now imperative that alternatives to guardianship are considered and documented. Since judges are required by law to consider all least restrictive alternatives to guardianship before granting a guardianship, this means that all other professionals involved must consider these alternatives as well. This starts with the doctor or other health care practitioner who is performing an interview and examination and filling out forms or writing a medical report. Attorneys are now trained in analyzing the legal aspects of alternatives to a partial or full guardianship. Any available special services must be considered. This is everything from home healthcare to meals-on-wheels and other available social programs to neighbors and friends who are willing to help on a regular basis. Can the individual take care of themselves well on a daily basis with help, but is unable to manage finances? If that is the case, a full guardianship is not appropriate. In fact, powers of attorney may assist in meeting this need. The goal is to keep the individual as legally independent as the situation allows, while still maintaining their health and safety.
This also means that when health care professionals fill out reports and paperwork for proposed wards they will need to be quite specific on what these patients can and cannot reasonably do for themselves. Recent increased emphasis on recognizing the value of independence to individuals and placing high importance on not removing any of their rights unless absolutely necessary have lead to increased scrutiny. Doctors, office managers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and other health care workers who deal with this guardianship paperwork can get guidance by speaking with a guardianship and probate attorney or by checking Texas estate code section 1101.
Kalish Law Office has legal services for health care professionals. We can assist you and your staff with legal administrative questions such as these, and can help you understand the law. We can also assist with review of lease documents, real estate documents and contracts. Call for a consultation 281-363-3700.