Appointment of a guardian is a complicated and important process, when necessary. It is a paternalistic intervention in the life of an individual, which aims to protect those who require that protection. Appointment of a guardian significantly impedes the rights and autonomy of the individual and should therefore remain a last resort. Alternatively, not appointing a guardian for one who needs protection could potentially expose that person to financial or physical harm, exploitation and neglect. The law allows for appointment of a guardian for a person that no longer has the capacity to make decisions regarding some or all of his/her personal matters. The law and the ruling have not defined who is considered a person that no longer has the capacity to make decisions. The criteria for financial capacity should include whether or not the patient knows the extent of his property, his income, expenses, and demonstrates ability to make logical decisions concerning these issues? The criteria for personal capacity [physical wellbeing] should include whether or not the patient can independently take care of his personal needs and care for himself in terms of: nutrition, housing, clothing, general security, and a safe living environment? We suggest that the expert opinion should specifically relate to the issues of guardianship for physical wellbeing and/or property and should provide the following: 1) Reason: What is the disorder/diagnosis that the patient suffers from? 2) Cognitive impairment: What cognitive impairment results from the patient's illness? 3) Functional impairment: What functional impairments resulting from illness affect the life of the patient?
|Number of pages
|Published - May 2008
- Lack of decision-making capacity
- Mental illness
- Power of attorney