Since founding Entrust in 2004 we have served as the guardian for dozens of incapacitated individuals, advocating for the highest quality of service through the least restrictive means possible to uphold their welfare and best interest through their last days. Many of the relationships we have formed with our wards span many years of service to them. Some guardianships are short-term situations.
A guardianship may be only temporary until a priority individual is located to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. A permanent guardianship may be short-term until an ill person’s decision-making capacity is restored. We are also frequently called into emergency situations in which a person needs admission to hospice but has nobody to consent to hospice care and make end-of-life decisions for them. Guardianships can also be limited and tailored to allow the individual to retain full decision-making authority over those aspects of life they are capable of handling without assistance.
We have extensive experience serving elderly individuals suffering from dementia and other aging-related disorders. As part of that work, we have gained expertise in advocating for wards with unique needs and challenging behaviors. This experience allows us to apply that insight to advocate for better outcomes; for example, in several instances, we have been able to reduce or eliminate challenging behaviors and the use of psychotropic medications by advocating for the implementation of non-narcotic pain management medications.
Our service is not limited to the elderly: We also act as service coordinator and surrogate decision-maker for developmentally disabled adults and younger adults with impairments.
Contrary to common perceptions, a guardianship does not mean all of the protected individual’s rights are taken away. Licensed fiduciaries are mandated by our code of conduct to involve protected people in the decision-making process to the greatest degree they are able to participate. We respect their preferences, their religious and cultural traditions, lifestyle choices, and their feelings in helping to them arrive at decisions that serve their best interest. Our wards may not always agree with the decisions we make on their behalf, usually due to a lack of insight into their own limitations, but we do all we can to involve them in the process.
If the individual cannot participate in the decision-making process, we do what is possible to learn what decisions they would have made had they been able to participate. This is accomplished by interviewing friends and relatives, reviewing estate planning documents and advance directives, etc. Ultimately, decisions are made in the client’s best interest with as little intrusion into their lives as possible.
We strive to maintain communication and involvement with friends, family, and social contacts. Clients are encouraged to continue involvement in social clubs, support groups, and churches that they attend. We arrange whatever services are necessary and affordable to facilitate activities and pursuits of the individual served provided there is no medical, safety, or welfare concern with continued involvement. One of our clients, through our shared persistence in seeing that she got to church on Sundays, is even responsible for an assisted living community now taking all capable residents to church in the community’s van twice monthly!
We care for our wards the same as we would our family. When making difficult care decisions, one question we ask to help guide us is “What if this was my mom or dad?”