Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions about the Volunteer Guardian Program.? If you are looking for answers to general guardianship questions visit the Franklin County Probate Court - Guardian Information webpage.


Aside from the court hearing, which will be during normal ?business hours? most of your responsibilities can be fulfilled during weekends and evenings. Our Basic Training classes are held at convenient times for the current volunteer group. Most visits to your ward can be at hours convenient to you both.

The fee is charged to pay the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for processing your fingerprints. These steps are taken as a precaution, because the person who needs a guardian is vulnerable, and we are certifying to the Probate Court that you are a suitable applicant.

That will depend on the specifics you choose: type of case, gender, disability, location, etc. For most volunteers it generally takes from 2 to 5 months.

No, you don?t. If you have ever been to the doctor, had a child or parent needing medical care, you already know how to ask the questions you need to ask. Doctors are supposed to explain options in language you can understand in order to have the ?informed consent? they need to provide treatment.

We require quarterly (every three months) reports that include the number of visits and number of hours spent on behalf of your ward. They also include a summary of actions you have taken on medical and daily care issues. Every year the Probate Court expects a report from you and the facility where your ward resides. We will notify you prior to the due date of these reports, send you the forms you need to complete and do the actual filing of the report at the court.

We really want you to choose the case and person that will work best for you. That way we know you will be more likely to live up to the commitment to visit and stay involved. When we think we have someone that would be a good match for you, we will tell you about that person. You will have the opportunity to visit the person and decide if you want to be the guardian.

  1. I work during the day. How can I volunteer?
  2. Why do I have to pay the $20 fee for a background check?
  3. How long does it take from the beginning of the process to appointment as guardian?
  4. Do I need a medical background to make decisions for my person?
  5. How much paperwork will I have to do?
  6. Do you match me to a person, or do I get to choose?



We ask that you make the commitment to visit the person twice a month. There is no minimum amount of time that the visit must last. Your visit should be sufficient to see how your person is, and to talk to staff about them, as needed.

At Basic Training you will learn the components of Informed Consent and how to do your homework when medical decisions are needed. The VGP staff is always available for consultation. As long as you have considered the information and asked questions about anything you don?t understand, no one can question your decision.

We will give you a form to leave with the facility. It gives them permission to do emergency medical interventions if they cannot reach you. The VGP office will need to have information about how to reach you, should an emergency occur with your ward, as staff cannot substitute for you as guardian. You can then respond by fax or telephone to give the necessary treatment consent.

This is not a required part of your volunteer commitment, and it will depend on a number of things, if you wish to do it.

Folks living in nursing homes have routine, quiet lives. The presence of babies, children and pets can have a wonderful life-enhancing effect. Although family members can be involved, only you will have the authority to make decisions, however.

You are not required or allowed to spend money for your ward. Each ward has a patient account at the facility to be used for special purchases. If you wish, you are allowed to buy something and give it as a gift.

The expertise available on staff at the Area Agency on Aging is varied and accessible through VGP. You will also have access to legal advice from your volunteer attorney if it is needed.

  1. Is there a minimum amount of time I must spend with my person?
  2. What if I make the wrong medical decision for my person?
  3. What if I am out of town or unavailable when my person gets sick?
  4. Can I take my person home?
    1. Is your person physically well enough to leave the facility?
    2. Are you comfortable taking responsibility for them on an outing?
    3. Your home/auto insurance policy covers liability just as it would for any other guest in your car or home.

  5. Can other members of my family be involved?
  6. Am I responsible for my person?s new clothing?
  7. Who can help me make decisions about my person?



  1. What will I have to do in Probate Court?

    The court is informal, but the judge or a magistrate (in larger counties) will place you under oath and ask you why the person needs a guardian. The VGP staff and your attorney will prepare you for the hearing. You should allow about an hour for the process to be complete.

  2. Will an attorney represent me?

    VGP has a group of attorneys who volunteer to assist with the cases. The type of assistance will vary based on the county and the type of case. In all cases VGP staff will be able to access legal advice should it be necessary. The legal situations of the people we serve are not often complex.

  3. If my life changes and I need to stop being the guardian, can I do that?

    We know that volunteers? lives change over time. If this means you need to end your involvement, we will find another volunteer to become successor guardian in your place. The court will hold you responsible until the hearing appointing the new volunteer can be held. The sooner you let us know that your circumstances have changed, the sooner we will be able to match your person with someone else.


Do you need help at home? COAAA is here to help! COAAA provides case management for a number of in-home long-term care services that give you choice and dignity to live independently in your own home. Whether you need personal care services, homemaking, transportation, or home delivered meals COAAA can coordinated a care plan to meet your specific needs. 

Individuals must meet certain requirements to be eligible for these service programs.  If you think you or a loved one may be eligible for one of these services, give us a call at 1-800-589-7277 and our team can provide a free in-home consultation or assessment. All assessments are with a licensed social worker or registered nurse who will determine a plan to meet your needs.


Program Name Who It Is
For/What It
Basic Services & Benefits Eligibility Eligibility

An alternative to nursing home care. Helps financially eligible, disabled older adults remain safe & independent at home. Prevents unnecessary nursing home placement.

  • Homemaking
  • Transportation
  • Emergency Response
  • Personal Care
  • Meals/Nutrition
  • Care Management
  • Home Modification
  • Medical Equipment
  • Adult Day Care
  • 60 or older
  • Have qualifying functional impairments (need assistance with bathing, meals, etc.)
  • Medicaid-waiver eligible
Home Choice

Home Choice assists older adults and individuals with disabilities to move from nursing homes to home and community- based settings.

  • A transitions coordinator helps with:
    • Locating housing
    • Setting up household
    • Connection with community services
  • Have lived in a long-term care facility for at least 90 days
  • Move into qualified housing
Assisted Living Waiver

Provides care for Medicaid-eligible adults in approved assisted living facilities. An alternative for people needing more care, but not a nursing home.

  • Private room/bath
  • 24-hr on-site response
  • Meals, Personal Care and Homemaking
  • Care Management and Social Activities
  • 21 or older
  • Medicaid-waiver eligible
  • Require same level of assistance as PASSPORT
MyCare Ohio

A 3 year demonstration program, beginning in 2014, designed to provide more comprehensive, coordinated services to Medicare & Medicaid eligible adults in the service areas.

An individual selects a Managed Care Organization to oversee health care (either Aetna Better Health Ohio or Molina Healthcare Ohio in Central Ohio). Services include medical care, long term care & behavioral health services as well as coordinated care management. In-home waiver coordination provided by COAAA.

Eligible for both Medicare & Medicaid in 29 Ohio counties including Delaware, Franklin, Madison, Pickaway & Union in Central Ohio.

Franklin County Senior Options


Office on 


Home-care program funded by the Franklin Co. Senior Services Levy.

  • Homemaker and Personal Care
  • Transportation
  • Meals/Nutrition
  • 60+; Franklin County resident
  • Have unmet need for service
  • Verify income/assets; sliding fee scale
Title III && Alzheimer’s Respite Services

Older Americans Act & State funding to community agencies to provide ‘safety net’ for those ineligible for other services.

  • Homemaker and Personal Care
  • Transportation
  • Meals/Nutrition
  • Care Management and Social Activities
  • Adult Day Care
  • Home Repair/Chore
  • Organizations in COAAA's eight counties receive funding, visit and click on Services for list of providers.
  • 60 or older; Cost is usually by suggested donation.
Long-term Care Consultation

A free, customized, in- home consultation that helps individuals understand how to meet current or future long- term care needs.

  • Information about long-term care services & support that helps seniors in maintaining their independence
  • Resources for estate planning, including financial & legal matters
  • No age or income requirements

Benefits. Prescriptions drugs. Coverage Gap. Preventative Benefits. Navigating the Medicare System can be difficult, and COAAA has trained staff available to answer your questions.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call today at (800) 589-7277. Below you will find information Preventive Benefits on the Low-Income Subsidy and contacts to receive more information.

Preventative Benefits

Learn more about Preventative Benefits here. (You pay nothing for many services!)

Medicare for Beginners Workshops

Are you new to Medicare?  Do you need help understanding your options?  Join us for one of our upcoming Medicare for Beginners workshops.  Talk to our experts to get unbiased information to help you make informed decisions.  Registration is recommended.  We do not represent or sell insurance products. 

All workshops start at 5:30 p.m. at COAAA's building located at 3776 S. High Street, Columbus, OH  43207.  To register, call COAAA at 1-800-589-7277.

Upcoming Medicare for Beginners Workshops for 2017 and 2018

  • October 11, 2017
  • December 13, 2017
  • February  14, 2018
  • April 11, 2018
  • June 13, 2018
  • August 8, 2018
  • October 10, 2018
  • December 12, 2018

Low Income Subsidy

Medicare offers financial assistance for beneficiaries who are eligible for extra help to pay for the prescription drug benefit (Part D).

If you qualify and are approved for extra help and do not yet have Part D, you may choose and enroll in a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month following your enrollment.

To apply for extra help, please call COAAA at (800) 589-7277.

There are also several agencies available and willing to assist you in determining if you may qualify and help you through the process. Please call:

For individuals NOT yet eligible for Medicare, please visit the following sites to explore assistance or discounts for prescription drugs:

Additional Contacts

Volunteer Guardians are substitute decision-makers for people who have mental disabilities and are unable to make informed personal decisions in their own best interest.

Guardians do many things to ensure the quality of life for the people they serve. They make informed, major life decisions concerning medical care, therapies, living environments, and even funeral arrangements. But, guardians also do the "little things" and the little things mean a lot.

Download the VGP Brochure for more information.

How Can You Help?

If you have the time and the desire to protect and advocate for someone who cannot speak for him or herself, consider volunteering. You can make a difference in the life of a person who may be lonely and vulnerable and who may have no visitors or others involved in his or her life.

Who Can Volunteer?

Caring, committed adults who are at least 21 years old, have good communication skills, and reliable transportation. You must live or work in Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Fairfield, Licking or Pickaway Counties.

What Will You Do?

Become "guardian of the person" for individuals whose mental impairment so incapacitates them that they are unable to care for themselves or make sound personal decisions.

Where Are You Needed?

A special emphasis is being placed on serving residents of nursing homes in Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Fairfield, Licking and Pickaway Counties.

You will have:

  • Support, training and technical assistance from the staff of the Volunteer Guardian Program.
  • A volunteer attorney will be assigned to give you legal advice concerning the management of the guardianship.
  • Formal Statutory authority granted by the Probate Court.
  • The satisfaction of enhancing the quality of life for another human being.

Application and FAQ

If you are interested in volunteering, view our FAQ and download the Application Form.

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Application Form (MS Word or Adobe PDF) Once completed, you may send the application through email or regular mail to Julia Nack at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free consultations are available to Ohioans who want to be better prepared for senior living, senior housing, or for help at home.

For a free Long-term Care Consultation call the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging 614-645-7250 or 1-800-589-7277.

A specially-trained Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging staff consultant will make a home visit to review your needs & circumstances. Available services for help at home will be identified, alternative choices discussed and planning help offered.

Care consultants can: assess current and future needs; explain available senior help; discuss financial resources required; and create a professional care plan for you.