Sometimes formerly capable adults are no longer able to receive and evaluate information effectively, and their ability to communicate decisions is impaired. As a result, they are unable make informed decisions about their health or finances and can no longer manage their basic needs, leaving them at risk. Such adults are considered to be incapacitated. This is usually determined by a physician.
Incapacitation is caused by a variety of circumstances such as advanced dementia, traumatic brain injury and persistent coma or vegetative state.
The Pennsylvania Orphan’s Court has the authority to appoint a guardian for an adult who is incapacitated. The court may appoint a Guardian of the Person and/or a Guardian of Estate. Anyone interested in the welfare of the incapacitated adult can file a petition for guardianship. Since there are no public guardian services in Bucks County at this time, a guardian must be identified and willing to serve.
Role of the Guardian
The appointed guardian takes on the role of decision maker for the incapacitated adult and may be assigned to make decisions regarding medical care, personal care, housing and, in the case of a Guardian of the Estate, personal finances.
Who We Serve
Our Guardianship program is for adults who are in need of a Guardian of the Person to make medical and personal care decisions for them. Our Guardianship team does not serve as Guardian of the Estate; however, we can serve as Guardian of the Person for incapacitated adults who do not need a Financial Guardian or those who have a separate Guardian of Estate. Family Service does not accept Emergency Guardianship appointments.
All major decisions concerning the care, housing and treatment of our clients are made by our Guardianship Team consisting of our:
- Chief Executive Officer
- Director of Community Based Programs
- Director of Nursing Services
- Older Adult Programs Coordinator
Guardian of the Person: Responsibilities and Services
- Serve as a decision maker, typically to ensure proper medical care, consent to surgery and other medical treatment and make decisions about safe housing arrangements including placement in long-term care
- Regularly visit the residence, day program and other places to ensure that all environments are safe
- Regularly spend time with clients to get to know them, their wishes and preferences, to the extent possible, in order to inform decision making on their behalf
- Promote excellence of care by maintaining contact with all care providers, monitoring changes in needs and services, seeking additional services when needed, changing care providers or living arrangements if necessary and promoting engagement with others to the fullest extent possible
- Make decisions in the best interest of the individual and in line with any expressed or known preferences whenever possible while still ensuring safety
- Advocate for the best quality of life, at all stages of life
- Submit timely and accurate service reports to the court as required by the Guardianship decree
How to Obtain Services
- Contact Bernadette O’Connor, Older Adult Programs Coordinator, at 215.757.6916, ext. 236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- We will assess the incapacitated adult for possible assumption of Guardianship.
- If the incapacitated adult meets the criteria for our program, we will petition the Bucks County Orphan’s Court and accept Guardianship of the Person if appointed by the court.
Guardianship fees range from $75 to $125 per hour and are determined on a case by case basis.