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06/07/2020

Mary Paier Powers Discusses What Family Caregivers Should Consider During the Pandemic When a Relative Is Resident in a Long Term Care Facility (June 5th)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had particularly fatal effect on seniors or the frail elderly residing in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities, e.g., in a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF_ or in assisted living.  As of last week approximately four in ten COVID-related deaths had occurred in these residences.  For example, in Virginia, as of mid-May approx. 60% of all COVID 19 related deaths have occurred in a SNF, among other states, in Minnesota , 80% of deaths have occurred in SNF and residential care homes.  Beyond LTC residents being immuno compromised, federal regulations concerning SNFs have, again, proven to be inadequate.  The question begged here is what can family caregivers, or those who have Power of Attorney or serve as Medical Proxy, do to protect their family members living in LTC - particularly if the facility is locked down or preventing family visits.

During this 30-minute conversation, Ms. Powers discusses among other related questions: what family members should know about the LTC facility in which their relative resides; beyond LTC facility’s precautions, what added/additional safety steps can the family caregiver take, e.g., if they've not should they pursue obtaining legal Power of Attorney (POA) and health care proxy authority; considering the extent to which the pandemic has adversely affected their family member's LTC facility, should, or how should, family caregivers evaluate proactively relocating their family member; can family members refuse to have their relative tested for COVID-19; if the relative tests positive for COVID 19 is the family caregiver, POA, medial proxy required to tacitly accept their relative being transferred to a hospital; and, if not, what are appropriate, proactive options can they take or what de facto dvanced care plans/planning should family caregivers make? 

Ms. Mary Paier Powers has been practicing law since 1984. Her practice focuses primarily on Estate Planning, Probate matters and Elder Law. She is a native of the Pioneer Valley where 9379 she was born and raised,  Ms. Powers began her career as a trust officer for Bank of New England West.  She next worked at Monarch Life Insurance Company, where she provided legal support and documentation on various life and disability income plans.  In 1993, she opened her own estate planning, probate and elder Law practice.  In 2019, Ms Powers formed Powers Law Group with her husband and son in West Springfield and Springfield, Massachusetts.  Ms. Powers graduated from Trinity College in Vermont and received her Juris Doctorate from Western New England University School of Law. 

Per my mention, the CDC guidance, "COVID-19 Guidance for Shared or Congregate Housing," is at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/shared-congregate-house/guidance-shared-congregate-housing.html

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