Major Responsibilities of the Public Administrator
Client Advocate - for housing and living arrangements, employment and day training, entitlements and benefits, religious rights and for good medical care. Further, an important aspect of advocating on behalf of the ward/protectee is the ongoing assessment of the need to continue guardian/conservatorship. The process of restoring the ward's rights is known by the legal term "restoration".
Surrogate Decision Making - there are two suggested principles (per the National Guardianship Association) to be considered when making decisions for the client:
1. Substituted Judgement - which asks the question, "What would the ward/protectee have wanted for himself?" This principle best protects the autonomy, values, belief and preferences of the ward.
2. Principle of Best Interest - used when the guardian/conservator is unable to determine what the ward would have done in a particular situation (which is often the case with public administrator clients who have no relatives or friends around who can give this information and the ward himself is unable to communicate his desires because of the severity of the illness).
Informed consent - regardless of which principle of decision-making is used, it is imperative that the guardian/conservator makes it using what is called informed consent which requires full disclosure of the facts. Information may be needed from family members, doctors, nurses, an ethicist, the ward's minister, etc. Also, the guardian needs to determine if a court order is required.
Coordinator and Monitor of Services - it is essential that the guardian/conservator develop and maintain a working knowledge of the services, service providers and facilities available in the community and to stay informed of any changes in these resources. the guardian should be in control of the plan of medical and personal care for the ward. The plan of care is developed with ward's input (when possible) by first assessing his/her needs and strengths and determining his/her goals. Then the guardian works with service providers to meet those needs and assists in accomplishing the goals. The guardian/conservator must continually monitor the ward's progress as well as the effectiveness of those services.
Conservator as Financial Planner and Manager - the public administrator as conservator has a fiduciary relationship with the protectee and is held to the highest standard of practice. Conservators should make well-reasoned decisions, represent only the interests of the protectee and avoid any conflicts of interest while maintaining the confidential nature of the protectee's affairs. The guardian-conservator should remain free to challenge inappropriately or poorly delivered services keeping an arms-length relationship with all service providers (including financial institutions, realtors, auctioneers, hospitals, physicians and placement facilities such as group homes, residential care facilities and nursing homes). Newton County's Public Administrator maintains that the conservator's actions should be above reproach and should not even give the impression of a conflict of interest. For example (although not illegal), she and her family members do not and employees are discouraged from bidding at real estate and personal property auctions. Per the statutes, investments other than those insured by the F.D.I.C. or the F.S.L.I.C. are to be made under court order.
Responsibilities of Public Administrator
Hours: 8 a.m - 4:30 p.m.
Monday-Friday (except holidays)
101 S. Wood St.
Neosho, MO 64850