Remember that you are obligated to consult your ward and apply the substituted judgment standard; that means making the decision based on their previously expressed wishes and values, not what you or their physician thinks is best for them. If your ward is capable of being involved in the decision-making process, then you must consult them and give them a simple plain language explanation of the risks and benefits. If you do not know your ward’s wishes regarding vaccines, you should consider their values and thoughts on medical intervention generally. You should weigh the risks and benefits of vaccination in light of your ward’s values and their personal situation.
Facilities cannot force you to consent to vaccination, but if you refuse, your loved one may be subject to continued isolation or perhaps even transfer. If you believe that your ward’s rights are not being protected, you may contact the Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the state Department of Health.
There is no charge for the COVID-19 vaccine, and you cannot pay to move your loved one up in priority. Any such request for money is likely a scam, and you should contact the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Adult Protective Services.
Even though many long-term care residents are beginning to be vaccinated, immunity is not immediate. Therefore, you should continue to follow safety protocols until your loved one is fully protected after the second dose. Ask the health care provider when it is safe to visit or take your loved one out. Also, it is not clear whether a vaccinated individual can still infect others, so protect your own health with appropriate safety measures.
If you have any questions about this post or any other elder care and special needs law matters, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For other topics related to the coronavirus, visit our Coronavirus Thought Leadership Connection.
The information contained in this post may not reflect the most current developments, as the subject matter is extremely fluid and constantly changing. Please continue to monitor this site for ongoing developments. Readers are also cautioned against taking any action based on information contained herein without first seeking advice from professional legal counsel.