Florida law provides a full guardian can decide where the individual lives, and is responsible for arranging for the care, comfort, and maintenance of the individual. The guardian must take care of the individual’s personal property, and if a conservator is not appointed, has power to handle income and assets.  As we know, federal and state law provides an extensive list of rights for residents of nursing homes.

Federal law provides if a resident has a guardian, the resident's rights are exercised by the guardian.  If the guardianship includes the power to make medical decisions, it is the guardian, and not the resident, who authorizes or refuses treatment.  Although a resident ordinarily has the right to leave the care of the nursing home and return home, a guardian can pre-empt that right.

Some important rights a resident always retains:

  • Freedom of speech and religion
  • Freedom from chemical and physical restraints except as medically necessary
  • Right to complain to the nursing home, Bureau of Health Systems, and the ombudsman program about any care or treatment issue
  • Right to request the Probate Court to terminate guardianship, limit the guardian's powers, or appoint a different guardian
  • Right to hire a lawyer