Skip to content

Research & Studies

The Center engages in advanced research aimed at the challenges surrounding guardianship of adults. Our research projects focus on the need for improvement in the guardianship system and providing accessible education and support for both guardians and those under guardianship nationally.


The Center is excited to share this newly published paper in the Journal on Aging and Social Policy.

This paper examines the adverse healthcare consequences that unrepresented adults face.

Guardianship for Adults without Surrogates in Massachusetts

Guardianship is a last resort in such situations – when all efforts to support decision-making abilities and employ less restrictive options have been exhausted. Guardianship in Massachusetts may be over-used in the absence of a default surrogate consent statute successfully employed in most states and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as specific Rogers…

Read More

Limited Guardianships

A review of literature and policy to evaluate the successes and challenges surrounding limiting guardianship. Principal Investigator: Heather L. Connors, Ph.D. Director of Research for Guardian Community Trust project in progress..

Read More

Ethical Concerns and Procedural Pathways for Patients Who are Incapacitated and Alone

Adults who are incapacitated and alone, having no surrogates, may be known as ‘‘unbefriended.’’ Decision-making for these particularly vulnerable patients is a common and vexing concern for healthcare providers and hospital ethics committees. When all other avenues for resolving the need for surrogate decision-making fail, patients who are incapacitated and alone may be referred for…

Read More

Examining the Need for A Public Guardian in Massachusetts

A public guardianship system is essential to providing surrogate decision-makers for our most vulnerable adults – those who (a) lack capacity, (b) do not have a family or friend who can serve as a surrogate and advocate, and (c) do not have means to pay a private guardian. Massachusetts does not have a comprehensive public…

Read More

Examining Costs of Not Providing a Public Guardian

This is an analysis of cost savings that may be realized if Massachusetts were to establish a Public Guardian, through reduced expenditures for emergency health care, protective services and social service agency interventions. Principal Investigator: Eliot Levine, Ph.D.

Read More

Surrogate Decision-Making

This is a study of decision-making by Guardians with the goal of developing a decision-making training protocol for new guardians and a curriculum for the general public to learn more about Health Care Proxies and Durable Powers of Attorney. Principal Investigator: Heather L. Connors, Ph.D., Director of Research for Guardian Community Trust Traci Cucinotta, LICSW,…

Read More

Supported Decision-Making: Fostering the Self-Determination of Individuals with Disabilities

A review of policy, literature and interviews of people using Supported Decision Making. Principal Investigator: Julia Maycock, JD, Legal Skills in Social Context Professor

Read More

Guardians & End of Life

Guardians for unbefriended adults face a host of decisions at the end of life. They must consider the person’s wishes if known, as well as the clinical context for end-of-life care. In this project, we addressed common decisions guardians face at end of life and what to consider when making such challenging decisions. Principal Investigator:…

Read More
Scroll To Top