Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

What is a Power of Attorney


What is a power Attorney? How can it help my Mentally Ill son who’s in the hospital? The case worker told us to get a power attorney so we can make medical decisions. Do I need an attorney for that?


Its called a “power of attorney” and it allows you to make decisions for your son when he’s incapacitated. A related concept is a "psychiatric advanced directive"and also “conservatorship” or “guardianship” where the parent or other person takes full time responsibility for legally binding issues. Here are some resources to learn more about his important issue for all families:

National Resource Center on Advanced Directives:

An example of a mental health power of attorney:

More on Advanced Directives:

NAMI Mental Health Power of attorney info:


anyway - thats a start.


More on conservatorships:

and more on the general issue of legal planning for families where a person has a serious mental illness:



Thank you for the information. My son was court ordered on Friday and I sent the Advance Directive Health Care form with the paperwork to the hospital. It was notarized because the paper said it didn’t needed to be notarized, so if the hospital have that paper, I should have the right to speak for him Iam I right? This is my son 3rd time being hospitalized. He will not take any medication in the hospital. I should have the rights to tell him to give him his medication. I just don’t know and I am very confused.


Typo: it was not notarized


I’ve not gone through the process myself, so don’t have the knowledge to tell you. I recommend you call the Treatment Advocacy Center - they have lawyers on staff who I’ve heard will answer these types of questions.

200 N. Glebe Road, Suite 801, Arlington, VA 22203
703-294-6001 (phone) | 703-294-6010 (fax)



Thank you very much for your help.


I am so drained. My son is in the hospital. He is schizophrenia. I had him commit on Friday because we found a big kitchen knife in room and he couldn’t tell us why the knife was doing in his room. He is off of his Meds and have talked about killing himself once before. My son signed the consent forms in the hospital. I have been communcating with the social worker. He will not take any Meds while in the hospital. And they said by law they can’t force him. This is some bulls***. They told me i need to go to the court house to get power attorney over him. Can he give me power attorney while in the hospital?