Health care facilities and providers are increasingly faced with caring for patients who are physically or mentally incapacitated and unable to provide informed consent required by statute for the provision of non-emergent treatment. Additionally, due to physical limitations and/or mental incapacity, many hospitalized patients are unable to make the decisions and complete financial applications and commitments required to successfully accomplish a safe and timely discharge from the facility.

In cases where either of these situations arise, the law requires healthcare providers to seek consent from a patient’s appointed agent, medical power of attorney, or legally-designated surrogate decision-maker. In the absence or unwillingness of any such identified, the healthcare provider/facility is required to seek the court’s intervention to obtain judicial authorization for treatment or the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator to ensure that the patient’s best interests are fully considered in any major treatment or placement decisions.

The attorneys and staff of Goodman Allen Donnelly provide an experienced team of professionals to counsel and assist in the efficient and ethical resolution of treatment-related matters arising from patient disability and incapacity. Our expertise in this practice area includes:

  • Advising and representation of health care practitioners and facilities (24/7) regarding surrogate decision-making under patients’ health care advance directives and/or powers of attorney, committees and/or guardians, persons standing in loco parentis, and other statutorily responsible persons or entities, or in cases involving treatment of emancipated minors or incarcerated persons;

  • Advising and representing health care practitioners and facilities involved in obtaining civil commitment for involuntary medical and mental health treatment for patients under Virginia statutes governing civil commitment;

  • Representation of health care facilities/practitioners in all aspects involving judicial authorization for medical treatment (JAMT) and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings in the Circuit Courts of Virginia, including preparation/filing of all legal documents and assistance in locating qualified persons willing to serve as guardians ad litem and guardians and conservators;

  • On-site staff education for risk managers, clinical resource managers and other facility staff specific to advance directives, general and health care powers of attorney, judicial authorization and guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.


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