Case study: How guardianship worksHow a public guardian gets appointed played out Wednesday in a Grand Forks court room.
By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald
How a public guardian gets appointed played out Wednesday in a Grand Forks court room.
After a hearing, state District Judge Lawrence Jahnke appointed DKK, a Jamestown, N.D., nonprofit group, to serve as a limited public guardian for a Grand Forks woman.
It was a routine case, the judge said, typical in that it involved many experts who have spent months making sure the woman is cared for.
Since her husband died six months ago, the woman’s long-time struggle with paranoid schizophrenia got worse and she quit taking care of herself and her house, said physicians and social workers, according to court documents. She was committed for some weeks to the state hospital, mostly because she wasn’t taking her medications.
Lisa Boxrud, a social worker from East Grand Forks, spent time with the woman this past week to assess her and ask her what she wanted.
The woman, born in 1950, has an “excellent memory for people and dates,” and keeps her small apartment neat, Boxrud wrote in a report to Jahnke. But she “is vulnerable and could potentially be taken advantage of.”
The woman wants some help, but still wants to be in charge of her own life, Boxrud wrote. “My assessment is that she is able to make routine and day-to-day decisions but needs assistance with larger decisions needing more insight and judgment.”
The woman’s family can’t help her: Her son is behind bars and her siblings aren’t involved, Boxrud wrote. Losing her longtime husband was a blow.
She was due recently to receive the $10,000 from her husband’s life insurance and should have help dealing with that, Boxrud said.
Boxrud said DKK Guardian and Conservator Services is the right fit: “a professional agency with a vast experience of serving persons with a variety of disabilities.”
The social worker also drew out a nuanced plan, advising a “limited” guardianship.
Jahnke so ordered.
It gives DKK “full” authority in “legal” matters and in decisions about placing the woman in a long-term care facility, but only “limited” authority in the woman’s decisions about where to live, her finances and her medical treatment.
Call Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1237; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.