IMPORTANT INFORMATION:

GAPC President Irene Rausch reached out to Probate and Guardianship Judge Pam Campbell regarding the COVID-19 virus and the general practices of Guardians as it pertains to their Wards.  Below is Judge Campbell’s response:

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Dear Ms. Rausch:  Thank you for your call yesterday to let me know about the precautions some nursing homes are taking due to COVID-19 by restricting visits by guardians to see their wards. 

Keeping our guardians healthy and maintaining our wards’ good health is the top priority and we want our Wards to feel safe in their environments.  As I understand the question posed by guardians, there is a concern that there will be repercussions if they are not able to meet their requirement for the face-to-face visits to their wards.  My suggestion would be as follows:

  1. Make sure each facility has the current contact information for the guardian
  2. Request the facility to keep the guardian posted on any changes in the Ward’s physical or emotion state and to provide copies of any medical records to document this
  3. Attempt to contact the Ward telephonically, or leave a note to be delivered for the ward to let them know the situation and that the guardian is still there for them
  4. Document all efforts to maintain contact with the ward
  5. If the guardian does the laundry or arranges for other personal services for the ward, request the facility to arrange a drop off location where the guardian can exchange the laundry, or provide special treats or food, to let the Ward know they have not been forgotten (or whatever the facility will allow)
  6. Use common sense and thoughtful ways during this challenging event – and follow the CDC guidelines, local public health advisories and other disaster plans that have been put in place

While this is certainly an unprecedented emergency, the Courts and the public health system have been planning for events such as this for years.  However, we represent the most vulnerable segment of our population for a severe acute respiratory illness that can spread among humans through respiratory transmission.  Therefore, the chosen passion of our professional guardians is being called front and center and we want to make sure we give you the tools to do your jobs as well as possible. 

On a different note, the Legislature has passed CS for CS for SB 994, which includes some significant changes to the Petitions for Incapacity in guardianships and has some language requiring a Do Not Resuscitate Order from the Court and provides time frames for that to occur.  This legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2020.   Currently this legislation still needs the signature of the Governor.   There will be more coming out about this, but, I wanted to bring it to your attention now so we can continue the dialogue.

I greatly appreciate you bringing this to my attention.   As President of the Guardianship Association, please extend my gratitude to all the guardians for their help during these challenging times.  

Sincerely,
Pamela A. M. Campbell, Circuit Court Judge
545 First Avenue North, Room 300
St. Petersburg, FL  33701

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Guardian Association of Pinellas County, Inc.
Address: PO Box 1826, Pinellas Park FL 33780
Email: Info@guardianassociation.org

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