Hospital, Nursing Home Notary
As a Colorado Springs mobile notary, I frequently make visits to a hospital or nursing home to notarize documents for patients. Common documents seen are the financial power of attorney (POA), medical power of attorney, last will and living will.
Patients have varying degrees of injuries, conditions, and illnesses, from minor problems to terminal illness. Some patients are in pain or discomfort. While I can’t help them with their medical problems, I am glad to be able to help them by notarizing their paperwork.
More Time Required
Colorado Springs hospital and nursing home calls are a little different than a trip to meet a healthy person at a coffee shop. Hospital and nursing home visits take more time. I have to drive around the parking lot or parking garage to find a parking space. Then there is a long walk to the building entrance, a hospital elevator ride to the patient’s floor and another long walk down the hallways to the patient’s room. I get the most walking exercise from hospital and nursing home notary visits.
Then, in the patient’s room, friends or family members are usually present and they like to chat a little bit. The patient is usually lying down or maybe sitting up in bed, and maybe a little slow to sign, due to their injury, condition or illness. They may need a clipboard or a hard surface to write on.
Awareness and Willingness
Depending on the nature of their illness, condition or injury, I may need to ask a few more questions to determine if they are aware and signing the document knowingly and willingly. It is a best practice to ask open-ended questions, not yes or no questions, so the patient can demonstrate they are able to understand the question and formulate a cohesive answer.
When a family member calls to make the notary appointment, I always ask them if the patient has his/her photo ID in the room and to check that it is not expired before my visit. I also ask the family member if the patient is able to communicate with me. I do not inquire about the nature of the medical problem, but they may choose to volunteer that information.
I ask if they are taking any medication that might affect their judgment or make them drowsy. If so, I ask if they are able to wait to take the medication until after my notary visit.
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
I have had some sad visits, where the patient is in bad shape due to serious or terminal illness and may be in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). I have had patients with plastic tubes down their throats who were unable to talk. They were able to communicate by nodding a head yes or no, or writing a note on paper.
Pro Bono Fee Waiver
There have been times when I felt bad for the patient, and I did not charge any fee due to their hardship. I leave some business cards with the family members, and they will call me in the future under better circumstances.
Hospitals and nursing homes also have a visitor logbook, so I stop to sign in and sign out. I also keep some hand sanitizer in my notary briefcase and in my car to clean up after the visit.
As a special treat for a hospital or nursing home patient, I like to offer them some chocolate candy. That usually gets a smile.
I have served patients as old as age 100, and mothers with newborn babies. Colorado Springs hospital and nursing home notary visits provide a valuable service to the patients and are emotionally rewarding to a mobile notary.