No Guardianship = No Communication. How can I get answers?!

When our mom passed away in Sept of last year (2021) my brother became my responsibility. He is his own guardian and I do not have any type of medical POA or anything. I am a caregiver, manage the household, handle the financials, take him grocery shopping, get his meds and make sure he has what he needs. David was diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia at the age of 25 and is now 49. He’s on a high daily dose of 700mg Clozapine, has very high and low mood swings and is unmanageable off of meds. Last week on Monday Feb 7th I was at the house, I asked him to shower bc it had been 2 weeks since he had cleaned up. He said he didn’t shower because he didn’t have underwear and I told him I would go and buy new everything so he would have what he needed. Later that day I believe he was triggered by a conversation we had regarding an insurance policy our mom had gotten on him. It was very small; 5k to cover costs should anything happen to him. In talking about updating the policy to add me as the beneficiary, he made up the story that I wanted him gone. Because he is his own guardian, the insurance co required that he be on the phone to approve any changes on the policy. The next morning on Tues he broke a window in the house and stopped taking his meds. He and I had an argument over the window, and him not showering for a couple of weeks- On Wed the 9th, I returned to the house to check on him, he still had not taken any meds. He told me that I could take them and spit in a cup and told me that I could drink that. Our older sister was on the phone with me during this time to hear and see everything that was going on. On Thurs the 10th I returned to the house again- at this point he was off meds for 3 days and was psychotic. My sister and I were on the phone together and made a collective decision to call the police/ambulance to get him some help. When the police arrived they explained that they were not able to take him without his own consent. He said he didn’t want to go and everyone left. Ten minutes later I received a call from Officer Trujillo, he said that after we all left, David ran shirtless into the intersection of the street, was hitting a bus and went into someone’s yard. An officer that had just been at the house with him approached him and at that time David agreed to go to a hospital. He was taken by ambulance to a medical hospital and then on Friday morning was transferred to a psychiatric hospital. Since being admitted at the psychiatric hospital, they will not talk to me at all. David has been there for 6 days. I have no idea what’s going on with him, what meds/treatment they are giving him or if they plan to just let him go? I have made numerous calls, I have even had David’s regular doctor call them- I have left 3 messages for the patient advocate and no one will return my calls. I have no idea if they will plan to release him with no way back home? or what his discharge will look like as far as his meds- what have they been giving him and will it be worse now to get him back on his meds? Is there anything I can get without his signature so that they will talk with me? Emergency guardianship? What do I need for the future? Medical POA and how can I find out what is going on with my brother? This is awful and I don’t know what my options are or if there is anything I can do at this point?


First, I’m so sorry for your situation. This board is full of people who have shared some aspect of your pain. So please know you’re in a good place.

Second, unfortunately, those POAs typically are done prior to such an event. And if they’re treating him and he tells them he wants nothing to do with you, then it will be very difficult.

Third, our fears can run away with us during these times. My son was in a similar situation and I couldn’t get to see him or get answers. And he was 18. HIPAA and Covid Protocols created the barrier. So naturally I assumed the worst! ‘They’re hurting my child!’ and lots of other baseless fears.

But, those hospitals deal with mentally I’ll all the time. They have guidelines and follow protocols. His care will be documented and they know they have to do the right thing. And most medical professionals do care and seek to help. So keep encouraged that he’s likely getting good treatment. He’s safe. He’s being fed. And bathed! And likely getting reestablished on his meds or new meds.

So (a) take a breath and realize he’s ok, (b) seek to get a relationship with a charge nurse or someone caring and explain the situation and ask only for them to keep your number to give to your brother if/when he wants to talk, and (c) have the POA drawn up by a good attorney and ready for your brother to sign when he stabilizes. You can explain your reasoning through the lens of this incident and show it as a requirement so you can even help him get out if he needed.

No easy answers here. All shared with love and empathy. None of us have any clue to all the facts and nuances of your brother so please take my comments with large grains of salt!! Hang in there.

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Wow thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I think that your insights is valuable. I do have a very critical thought process regarding institutions like the one he is in because of him being assaulted previously on two different occasions. I have to let go and trust that everything is going to be OK and I do appreciate it your wisdom. Thank you for taking the time to reply.

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