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Alzheimer's Disease

Dementia and Legal Rights

05/24/2005

Question:

HIPPA laws limit who can get info regarding a patient. If the patient has early dementia, does he lose the right to say yes or no to release of information? My uncle has a health care proxy who is releasing only limited info about his condition. He generally is pretty lucid, definitely is oriented, but the nursing home has observed some confusion and he had some deficits on a mini-mental. I would like more complete info. The nursing home will not release info to me and says that because of the dementia diagnosis, my uncle`s consent would not be valid. They say only the health care proxy can give that consent. Has he lost this right simply with the diagnosis of dementia? (He has not been legally declared incompetent.

Answer:

Your question is complicated and outside of our area of expertise for NetWellness. We would recommend that you consult with an expert in Elder Law. Your local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association may be able to help you find the appropriate referrals for your location. 

If you have any questions about Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, please feel free to write again.

For more information:

Go to the Alzheimer's Disease health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Paula K Ogrocki, PhD Paula K Ogrocki, PhD
Assistant Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University