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- Unreported Judgment
TJR QCAT 301
TJR  QCAT 301
Guardianship and administration matters for adults
On the papers
Senior Member Endicott
25 July 2015
GUARDIANSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION – where adult in hospital and requires discharge to an aged care facility – where adult cannot make complex decisions – where family was unable to start the placement process due to a lack of formal decision-making power – where applications made by family to be appointed as guardian and administrator – where interim appointment sought – where adult would be charged long stay hospital fees as well as being liable for rent on her home – whether the adult was at an immediate risk of harm
Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld) ss 12, 129
APPEARANCES and REPRESENTATION (if any):
This matter was heard and determined on the papers pursuant to s 32 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act).
REASONS FOR DECISION
- TJR is an inpatient at a Brisbane Hospital. She has been diagnosed with dementia. Medical evidence presented to the Tribunal stated that prior to her hospital admission she had been found wandering in the streets, her house had been left open, she had kept rubbish in the refrigerator and other items had been left in inappropriate places in the house.
- Dr Krepski, who is part of the hospital treating team, stated that TJR had demonstrated a progressive decline in her cognitive functioning over recent years secondary to Alzheimer’s Disease. Dr Krepski stated that TJR could not make any complex decisions due to dementia.
- TS, a son of TJR, applied to QCAT for the appointment of a guardian and an administrator for TJR. Such appointments are made after a hearing has been held and the Tribunal is satisfied that the factors set out in s 12 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 (Qld) (GAA) have been satisfied. Those factors require the Tribunal to be satisfied that the adult in question has impaired decision-making capacity for the matter, that there are decisions that need to be made and that appointing a decision-maker is necessary to give adequate support to the adult in the decision-making process.
- TS also applied for an interim appointment of a guardian and administrator. Appointments of decision-makers can be made prior to a determination being made on the substantive applications if the Tribunal is satisfied that the requirements of s 129 of the GAA are established. That section provides that where there is an immediate risk of harm to the welfare or financial resources of the adult an appointment can be made for up to three months before a hearing of the applications are heard and determined.
- The evidence given to the Tribunal in support of the application for an interim order did not satisfy the requirements of s 129. TJR was in hospital and would not be able to return home after discharge. She would need to be placed into an aged care facility so her care needs could be adequately met. Her son had tried to lodge applications with some aged care facilities but they required that he have some formal authority before they would accept the applications. He sought interim appointment as a guardian and administrator so he could start the placement process.
- TS informed QCAT that his mother was paying rent and other outgoings on her residence while she was in hospital. She would start to be charged long stay fees by the hospital and she could not afford to pay both rent and hospital fees. TS confirmed that his mother’s welfare was not at an immediate risk of harm but she needed to be discharged to reduce the risk to her financial position.
- The Tribunal was not satisfied that TJR’s financial position was at an immediate risk of harm. While she was in hospital she was still occupying her rented house as her belongings were there and her lease liability was current. It is not a risk of harm to be subject to ongoing liabilities under a lease arrangement for your home. It was a reasonable inference to make that such a liability had been affordable prior to TJR’s admission to hospital and unless there is a significant change in circumstances, that liability would continue to be affordable.
- The only change put to QCAT was the pending imposition of late stay fees in the hospital. While a hospital is entitled to impose such fees after a patient is no longer in need of acute care, it is reasonably common for the fees to be waived if the patient cannot afford to pay late stay fees. There was no suggestion that the hospital intended to discharge TJR back home if she could not pay long stay fees and no suggestion that recovery action would be taken against her financial assets if the fees were not paid while she was in hospital.
- There was no evidence that TJR was at an immediate risk of harm. It would certainly be convenient to TJR and her family if an interim appointment were to be made so that the placement process could commence but an interim appointment could not be justified under the requirements of s 129 of the GAA. TS will be considered for appointment when a hearing of the applications can be held. However, he did not produce evidence that an interim appointment should be made prior to that hearing. The application for an interim order was dismissed.
- Published Case Name:
- Shortened Case Name:
 QCAT 301
Senior Member Endicott
25 Jul 2015