Life Legal is intervening on behalf of an elderly Alabama woman who has been denied all visitation rights. The woman, Marian Leonard, was confined to a nursing home against her will and does not understand why she is not permitted to have visitors.
Mrs. Leonard’s daughter, Nancy Scott, contacted Life Legal after she learned that her mother had been placed in hospice care even though she is not terminally ill. Mrs. Leonard named her daughter as her health care power of attorney years ago. Nevertheless, the state of Alabama overrode Marian’s wishes, placing her in protective custody and appointing a third-party guardian to take over Marian’s health care and finances after erroneously believing Nancy moved her mother to home care against a doctor’s recommendation.
Ms. Scott says she had the “full permission and blessing” of the doctor to move her mother from a nursing home in Tennessee back to the family’s home town in Alabama.
Life Legal received confirmation today that the state-appointed guardian has banned all visitors from seeing Marian, including her daughter. The guardian claims visitation “is not in Mrs. Leonard’s best interest.” When the friends asked the nursing home staff whether this is legal, they were told the home and guardian could “do anything they wanted to” because Marian is a ward of the state.
“We are outraged at the guardian’s treatment of Mrs. Leonard,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “The guardian—a complete stranger to Marian—has forced this elderly woman to spend the rest of her days in complete isolation, with no one to oversee her care. Marian Leonard committed no crime, yet she has been stripped her of her civil rights and is being treated worse than a prisoner.”
Third-party guardians such as the one appointed in this case are typically paid for through the ward’s estate and have the power to liquidate assets without permission from the ward or family members.
We are asking the public to report this injustice by calling the Alabama Adult Abuse hotline at 800-458-7214 and the Alabama Department of Public Health at 800-356-9596. Mrs. Leonard is at Diversicare Riverchase in Alabama, which has a 2.5 out of 5 star rating on Google.