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Adult guardians sworn in

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

A swearing-in ceremony for the first class of the Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program took place Oct. 18 at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis.

The program, which provides volunteers who have been trained to be guardians for ill and at-risk adults and seniors at Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis, is modeled after the Volunteer Advocates for Seniors Program at Saint Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Northwest Indiana in partnership with the Lake Superior Courts.

The advocates have been trained to work with adults with a range of issues, including elderly adults with dementia or other mental health concerns, adults of all ages with developmental disabilities, and others who cannot speak for themselves and likely don’t have a trusted relative who can speak for them on important decisions regarding their medical care and other day-to-day needs they might have.

“Our volunteers are trained, court-appointed advocates who protect the interests of the patients they serve both while the patients are in the hospital and after they have been transitioned to healthcare facilities or the community,” Robin Bandy, director of the Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program, said in a statement.

Similar to Court Appointed Special Advocates and Guardians Ad Litem for children, as guardians and advocates for adults, the volunteers will work closely with those to whom they have been assigned, while giving them a voice in court when needed.

“As a physician, I often care for adults who are unable to make their own decisions due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, head trauma or other related illnesses,” Dr. Alexia Torke, a physician at Wishard Health Services and an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at the IU School of Medicine, said in a statement.

“Sometimes these folks have no one to look out for them. They desperately need a caring, responsible individual to help them make medical decisions, find a safe place to live, and keep others in the community from abusing them,” she added.

The Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program is currently recruiting additional volunteer advocates and is also accepting monetary and clothing donations for patients needing personal care items. Anyone interested and who would like further information regarding the program can contact the program director at (317) 630-6254.

Adult guardianship programs around the state that are affiliated with the Indiana Adult Guardianship Services Project are also looking for volunteers of all backgrounds. Becky Pryor, project coordinator of the statewide program, can be reached via her e-mail, iagsproject@yahoo.com, for information.

Rehearing "Addressing a statewide concern" IL Sept. 1-14, 2010

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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