Imprisoned in aged care – how we worked to free our client

Earlier in her life Jean made the decision to appoint her adult daughter as her Enduring Guardian, should it ever be required. Simply put this means that should Jean ever be medically assessed as having impaired decision-making ability and lost her capacity to make lifestyle and medical decisions, her daughter could make them for her.

In time, Jean needed a little help with keeping on top of cleaning and her much loved garden and was approved for a Home Care Package. Part of that was a weekly visit to a nearby Day Centre, which Jean enjoyed while living independently at home.

Her daughter then suggested that she take a short holiday in the Centre to have a break, just for a fortnight.

Four weeks in and Jean was still there. She had not been collected to go home. Her daughter was not answering the phone. The staff who initially ignored her pleas to leave, said her stay had been extended. Indefinitely.

A neighbour came to visit her and was turned away because she was not on an ‘approved visitor’s list’ – a list Jean knew nothing about. Fortunately, her neighbour persisted and got a short visit with a visibly distressed Jean. Her neighbour told her about Advocacy Tasmania.

Our advocate assessed the situation and presented Jean with all options. Jean made her decision, and our advocate attended a meeting with Jean and Legal Aid.

With Legal Aid’s expertise it was determined that Jean’s adult daughter had been acting as the Enduring Guardian prematurely, without any authority to do so, and in a manner disproportionate to Jean’s needs.

Her capacity had never been professionally assessed, she was capable of making her own decisions and had never agreed to become a permanent resident of the aged care home.

Without this formal assessment her daughter could not legally act as her Enduring Guardian but had fooled the home into believing she could.

So we pushed further, and found that the aged care home could not provide any evidence of impaired capacity or decision-making ability and there was no legal order in place.

Jean could go and she left that afternoon. She was free.

Our advocate was in Jean’s corner. Which is where we will always be and we’re ready to take on anyone to restore our clients’ rights.

Thank goodness Jean called us.

If you need help or just want information or to discuss options, contact us.