Can a patient with a dementia diagonis sign legal admission documents?

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Can a patient with a dementia diagonis sign legal admission documents?

I was trained that they can’t but my administrator says yes they can, so do it. What are the legal aspects of that? Can my certification be taken away if something arose down the line and the case went to court?

Asked on December 5, 2010 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A person who has been diagnosed with dementia can not be bound to anything that they sign so yes, somewhere down the road you could get in to trouble should the documents be challenged.  As for your certification, that is a regulatory issue dealing with the department that regulates your profession but courts can make recommendations.  If you believe that someone is not in their right mind and should not be signing anything legally then you are correct in objecting.  But is order to save your job why don't you suggest that the administrator handle the admission and sign the documents.   Tell her that you are not comfortable with signing them.  If you get fired then seek the help of an employment attorney.  Good luck. 


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