Court Urges Public to Prepare for Vaccination of Incapacitated Family Members

Court Press Release

January 4, 2021

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Ottawa County Probate Court Urges Public to Prepare for Vaccination of Incapacitated Family Members

COVID-19 vaccination is well underway in Ottawa County, with many first responders and health care workers already given their first dose. While it is unclear when other risk groups will be offered the vaccine, the Ottawa County Probate Court urges the public with family members in long-term care facilities to be prepared. Residents should ensure incapacitated relatives in nursing homes have the appropriate legal documentation in place now, in advance of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. For example, if an incapacitated individual does not have a patient advocate or guardian to act on their behalf, a family member may want to petition the court to appoint a temporary guardian.

“While many residents of nursing homes and family members have already taken the necessary legal steps to allow for important medical decisions to be made on their behalf, the court wants to make sure that there are no delays in vaccinating vulnerable populations,” said Chief Probate Judge Mark A. Feyen. “Family members have an obligation to waste no time in making sure that the proper steps have been taken to make sure their incapacitated loved ones can be vaccinated.”

The court also asks local nursing homes to inventory patient records to determine which patients require third party consent and to make sure the information is up to date. The court plans to make every effort to act on petitions as quickly as possible.

Residents wondering when they or their family members can receive the COVID-19 vaccine can sign up for notifications from the public health department at