We received an inquiry from a nursing home employee about whether a guardian needed court approval to move a nursing home resident to another facility when she also had a health care proxy. Here, we will give a basic answer. If you need more specific information, don't hesitate to get in touch.
Under Massachusetts guardianship law, guardians must first seek court approval before placing the protected person in a nursing home. However, agents under health care proxies have the right to make health care decisions for individuals and, presumably, this would include placement in a nursing home.
So, the question becomes: which governs, the health care proxy or the guardian? Here's the answer provided by a trusted attorney at Margolis & Bloom:
The guardianship statute states that a court-appointed guardian may not revoke a health care proxy without court authorization. If a health care proxy is in effect, absent an order of the court to the contrary, a healthcare decision of the agent takes precedence over that of a guardian.In short, individuals can avoid the extra cost of seeking court approval for nursing home placement if they have appointed an agent under a valid health care proxy.