In October of 1996, Bridges Senior Care Solutions, Inc. opened its doors to the public to provide Geriatric Care Management services. As defined by the NAPGCM, a Geriatric Care Manager is a health and human services specialist who acts as a guide and advocate for families who are caring for older relatives or disabled adults.
In 1997 Bridges Senior Care Solutions, Inc. d/b/a Bridges Public Guardianship Program became one of the first Certified Public Guardian and Conservator agencies in VA. Since that time our contract with DARS has grown to provide Guardianship services to the counties of Albemarle, Caroline, Culpeper, Essex, Fauquier, Fluvanna, Greene, Halifax, King George, Lancaster, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Matthews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Nelson, Northumberland, Orange, Prince William, Rappahannock, Richmond, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Westmoreland; and the cities of Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and South Boston. As a regional program, we also serve many counties adjacent to the ones we are contracted to serve, including the whole of central VA.
If you require services outside of these areas, please refer to this link for a complete list of Public Guardianship Programs in Virginia.
If you or someone you know doesn't meet public guardianship requirements but could still benefit from guardianship or care management services, we offer private guardianship and case management also. Please contact us with questions regarding openings.
Who is eligible for Public Guardianship?
In Virginia's Public Guardianship Program, the individual seeking services must be: incapacitated, indigent, and in need of someone to help them make medical, financial, or daily living decisions, but who have no suitable person to serve as their guardian. A Public Guardian is a Guardian of Last Resort.
A public guardian can, at the direction of a Virginia Circuit Court, also serve as conservator for individuals who are indigent and in need of public guardianship but have some minimal financial assets that need to be disposed of or managed. The Virginia Code provisions governing the program appear in Sections 15.5-149 et seq. The regulations appear in 22 Virginia Administrative Code Section 30-70-10 et seq.
What are the duties of a Public Guardian?
Broadly speaking, the role of the guardian is to apply person centered practices to decision making regarding the care of an individual assigned to us by DARS and the Circuit Court. This means that we assess the individual's needs AND desires then use community resources and problem solving to implement the living environment that most reflects the needs, values and desires of the individual.
Specifically this means that we are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone connected to an individual we serve may reach us at any time.
We complete a Values History interview within the first 60 days of becoming guardian to ensure the values and desires of our clients are documented and incorporated into their plan of care. Sometimes our clients are not able to communicate these things so we will interview long-term caregivers, family or any other resource who may be able to provide insight.
We visit our clients face to face at least 1 time per month (more frequently as necessary) at their place of residence or day support program; sometimes accompanying them to doctor's appointments or other community outings. During these visits we monitor the care provided to our clients by all providers.
We ensure Person Centered Practices are employed when developing a plan of care for our clients and make sure we participate in all care planning. This includes ensuring regular review of medical records, charts, labs, medications, etc
We strive to make personal connections with anyone we serve. This includes celebrating holidays, birthdays and other milestones in person and over the phone.
In between visits, we maintain regular contact with our client’s providers of services and maintain communication with family members of our clients as needed as we advocate for all client’s needs, desires and comfort.
We advocate for our client’s inclusion in all available, appropriate programs, i.e.: day programs, job training, employment and volunteer programs. We ensure participation in planned outings, special out of home activities, dances, Special Olympics, vacations, etc.
We advocate for all available funding sources to meet the needs of our clients..
We ensure that personal needs are met and personal items are obtained through shopping and donations.
We provide ongoing review of our client’s continued need for a guardian and continue to ensure that least restrictive measures are utilized in providing guardianship services.
When possible we arrange pre-need and burial services.
How do you obtain a Public Guardian?
A local referral source such as, an adult care facility, an Adult Protective Services office, a local Community Services Board, a hospital, or other person or organization that deals with people who are indigent or incapacitated, identifies a person who needs guardianship services.
The referral source contacts the local public guardian service provider (LPGSP) for the geographic area where the incapacitated person resides. In the case of individuals with a diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability, the referral should be made through the local Community Services Board, rather than directly to the LPGSP. The referral should be sent directly to DBHDS for those individuals.
The referral source completes the referral form received from the LPGSP. The form is designed to gather factual information needed to ensure the incapacitated person meets the statutory requirements for public guardianship and that the LPGSP is able to effectively serve as guardian.
If the person is accepted by the LPGSP, the referral source engages an attorney to request a capacity and guardianship hearing before a Virginia Circuit Court pursuant to Virginia Code Section 64.2-2000 et. seq.
If the Circuit Court finds that the person is incapacitated and indigent the LPGSP is suggested as a suitable guardian as long as no other suitable person can be identified.
The Circuit Court makes the appointment and the LGPSG takes over as guardian for the incapacitated person.
You can find the referral form at this link and you may email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 540-370-0707 unless the individual has a diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability, then the referral should be made through the local Community Services Board, rather than directly to the LPGSP. The referral should be sent directly to DBHDS for those individuals.
Email is STRONGLY preferred.