Q. Can a patient hospitalized in a long term recovery facility, far away from a Jewish community, have his wife read the megilla for him if he cannot do it himself or find anyone else willing to travel the distance during Purim?
A. Shulchan Aruch (689: 1) rules that women are obliged in the mitzva of reading the megilla. Mishna Berura (ibid 1) explains that although it is a time dependent mitzva, on which women are normally exempt, since they were also included in the salvation miracle, they are also duty-bound in the celebration. Although women can discharge other women in megilla reading and also men on mitzvos they are obligated to keep such as kiddush,or Chanuka, the reading of the megilla is different, as the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) writes, because of two reasons (quoted in Mishna Berura: ibid. 7).
Firstly, due to the honor of the congregation, they should not read the megilla, as they avoid reading the Torah publicly in the shul. The Sages added that even privately she should not read it for a man, to avoid problematic differentiation (lo plug). The second reason mentioned is that the nature of their obligation is different from men, as they are not duty-bound to read the megilla, but rather to listen to its reading.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that she should try as much as possible to get someone to come and read for her husband, but avoid, as mentioned reading it herself for him.
If it is unlikely that they will find someone willing to attend that far away hospital, the Rov recommends to have a kosher megilla send to them and the wife should help her husband read the megilla himself. If that cannot be achieved, she can read for him without a brocho. (Unless she is also complying at the time and she makes a brocho for her own reading)
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a