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Jane Doe Deer
Jane Doe Deer, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Atty. since 1986; Plain English answers to family law, employment, landlord-tenant, & other questions
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My mother lives in a nursing home, but is in the hospital right

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My mother lives in a nursing home, but is in the hospital right now. My brother has POA, but will not speak to me, or tell me how she is. I go to the nursing home to visit. They say she is not there and is in the hospital, but will not tell me what is wrong. I call the hospital and they will not tell me what is wrong. I can go to the hospital, but I can't live there. I just want to be notified as a courtesy, before she dies, or when she dies. I can't deal with all the HIPAA blocks, that make me feel like a stalker. I am her daughter, that lived with her before she went into the home. My questions are: Do I have any rights at all, as a family member? &, Can I file a complaint with the ACLU or any other organization? Thank you very much.

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you. I switched out of "chat" because I have had technical problems chatting here. I hope that you don't mind!


While we write back and forth, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. Sometimes I'm unable to read your entire question until AFTER I write back to you.


Although it's usually five minutes, sometimes there can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be researching the answer to your question, helping other customers, or taking a break. If we are writing late at night, I may have to go to sleep and resume helping you the following morning.


I need the following information before I can answer your question:


Can you please tell me what US state or country is involved in your question? I cannot see it on my screen right now. I may need to research your state-specific law. I'd like to know in what state you live, and in what state your mother and brother live, so I have a better picture.


Please be aware that JustAnswer is a "pay-for-answer" website. You have offered to pay for the answer to the question.


I'll look forward to hearing from you,


Jane Doe Deer


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
We all live in Ohio. My brother lives at this same residence, but will not speak to me because he hates me for some reason, that I don't know. This makes it extremely hard for me to participate in my mother's care or get any information about what is going on with her. I sometimes feel frantic or threatened because my mother is not in good health mentally or physically.

I'm sorry about your mother's health and the fact that she's currently in the hospital. I know how that is.


On a short-term basis, there's no good reason to try and file a complaint against the hospital, and you won't get very far. You can visit in person and then if your mother has a double room, befriend the roommate - and call her for a report. Or try to befriend a nurse, who may at least contact you if there's been a change in circumstances.


Another option is to find out whether there is any type of social worker on staff (there usually is), who may be more willing to talk with you then a nurse - especially is you can be somewhat creative with your questions.


It concerns me whenever there are family/POA problems. First, be aware that a person with POA (an Attorney-in-Fact) does not exercise any control over the person, such as your mother....the AIF is supposed to act in the person's best interests at all times, and follow whatever order is in the POA.


On a longer term basis, you have the right to file an actiona for guardianship (called conservatorship in some states). You don't have to become guardian (conservator) - it can be someone else, such as a professional guardian/conservator, or simply a different family member. However, the court will want evidence that the current AIF is not performing his job, or is no longer capable himself, or something similar.


May I be of any further help? Just write back!


Otherwise, please click on "accept" or I won't be paid even a dime for my time.


My best,


Jane Doe Deer





Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Let me answer your queries one by one. My mother does not have a roommate, and cannot speak at all because she had a stroke. Nurses and social workers are all very careful to follow the HIPAA law, and none of them can be persuaded otherwise. My brother seems to act in the best interest, but will not ask or tell me anything beforehand. There is no evidence that he is not performing his job, and he would only block guardianship when he is notified. I am alone in this, without a leg to stand on, unless there is some legal loophole.

Let me do some additional searching of Ohio law and HIPAA. I'll be back to you shortly.



Sorry - I looked up the Ohio and federal laws. Your mother has an absolute right to privacy. I wish I had better news for you. (The protection covers hospitals and nursing homes, among other entities).


There have been lawsuits against Ohio hospitals for violating patients' privacy.


You may be interested in reading through this:


I'm sorry that the news was not what you wanted to hear.


My best to you and your mother,


Jane Doe Deer

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