Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2047.02. Powers and duties of emergency and health-care guardians.

(a) Except as limited by sections 21-2046 and 21-2047.01, an emergency guardian or health-care guardian is responsible for providing substituted consent for an incapacitated individual and for any other duties authorized by the court, but is not personally liable to third persons by reason of that responsibility or acts of the incapacitated individual.

(b) An emergency or health-care guardian shall:

(1) Become or remain personally acquainted with the ward and maintain sufficient contact with the ward to know of his or her capacities, limitations, needs, opportunities, and physical and mental health;

(2) Make decisions on behalf of the ward by conforming as closely as possible to a standard of substituted judgment or, if the ward’s wishes are unknown and remain unknown after reasonable efforts to discern them, make the decision on the basis of the ward’s best interests;

(3) Include the ward in the decision-making process to the maximum extent of the ward’s ability.

(4) Encourage the individual to act on his or her own behalf whenever he or she is able to do so, and to develop or regain capacity to make decisions in those areas in which he or she is in need of decision-making assistance, to the maximum extent possible; and

(5) Make any report the court requires.

(c) An emergency or health-care guardian may:

(1) Grant, refuse, or withdraw consent to medical examination and health-care treatment for an individual who has been deemed incapacitated pursuant to section 21-2204;

(2) Obtain medical records for the purpose of providing substituted consent pursuant to section 21-2210; and

(3) Have the status of a legal representative under Chapter 12 of Title 7.


(Oct. 22, 2008, D.C. Law 17-249, § 2(h), 55 DCR 9206.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 21-2046 and § 21-2049.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-480, September 25, 2006, 53 DCR 7940).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-566, December 19, 2006, 53 DCR 10272).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-161, October 18, 2007, 54 DCR 10932).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-245, January 23, 2008, 55 DCR 1230).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-492, August 4, 2008, 55 DCR 9167).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(h) of D.C. Law 16-194 added a section to read as follows:

“(3) Encourage the ward to participate with the guardian in the decision-making process to the maximum extent of the ward’s ability in order to encourage the individual to act on his or her own behalf whenever he or she is able to do so, and to develop or regain capacity to make decisions in those areas in which he or she is in need of decision-making assistance, to the maximum extent possible; and

“(4) Make any report the court requires.

“(1) Grant, refuse, or withdraw consent to medical examination and health-care treatment for which the individual has been deemed incapacitated pursuant to section 21-2204;

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 16-194 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(h) of D.C. Law 17-100 added a section to read as follows:

§ 21-2047b. Powers and duties of emergency and health-care guardians.

“(a) Except as limited by sections 21-2046 and 21-2047a, an emergency guardian or health-care guardian is responsible for providing substituted consent for an incapacitated individual and for any other duties authorized by the court, but is not personally liable to third persons by reason of that responsibility or acts of the incapacitated individual.

“(b) An emergency or health-care guardian shall:

“(1) Become or remain personally acquainted with the ward and maintain sufficient contact with the ward to know of his or her capacities, limitations, needs, opportunities, and physical and mental health;

“(2) Make decisions on behalf of the ward by conforming as closely as possible to a standard of substituted judgment or, if the ward’s wishes are unknown and remain unknown after reasonable efforts to discern them, make the decision on the basis of the ward’s best interests;

“(3) Include the ward in the decision-making process to the maximum extent of the ward’s ability;

“(4) Encourage the individual to act on his or her own behalf whenever he or she is able to do so, and to develop or regain capacity to make decisions in those areas in which he or she is in need of decision-making assistance, to the maximum extent possible; and

“(5) Make any report the court requires.

“(c) An emergency or health-care guardian may:

“(1) Grant, refuse, or withdraw consent to medical examination and health-care treatment for an individual who has been deemed incapacitated pursuant to section 21-2204;

“(2) Obtain medical records for the purpose of providing substituted consent pursuant to section 21-2210; and

“(3) Have the status of a legal representative under Chapter 12 of Title 7.”

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 17-100 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.