How Hawaii Hospitals File Guardianship for an Incapacitated Patient

Hawaii hospitals have patients who were accepted for health care, but over time no longer need the level of care that a hospital provides. If:

  • Those patients are incapacitated adults who cannot receive and evaluate health care information or make or communicate such decisions on their own,
  • No relatives or friends are willing to be a Guardian for the incapacitated patient, and
  • A conservatorship of the assets is not necessary because the patient does not have significant assets, the hospital will hire an attorney to file a petition to the Hawaii Family Court to get the Office of Public Guardian appointed as guardian for the patient.

Interested persons must be served the petition, and reports by physicians and social workers are attached to support the petition. The Office of Public Guardian (a part of the Hawaii State Judiciary) will meet with the patient to determine if the patient is incapacitated and if appointment of a guardian is necessary in order to provide continuing care and supervision of the incapacitated person.

A hearing is held and the Judge will decide if the patient is indeed incapacitated and needs a guardian. Once the Order Appointing the Office of Public Guardian is signed by the Family Court Judge the hospital can then have the patient transferred to a health care facility that offers a lower level of care and a less restrictive environment.

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