Case study: Guardianship and administration

Seniors Rights10Bruce

Facts

Bruce is in his mid-seventies and a patient of a rehabilitation hospital. During a family meeting to discuss discharge planning it became apparent that Bruce’s three children did not all support Bruce’s wish to return home and live independently. The facility were concerned about their duty of care and made an application to VCAT for the appointment of a guardian and administrator for Bruce.

Bruce had lived in his own home in the same community for the past 55 years and was well known within his own local community. Bruce had a fall and was admitted to hospital before being discharged to the rehabilitation facility. Bruce had three children: two daughters, Sarah and Christine, and a son Jack who resides with Bruce. Sarah and Bruce were supportive of their father remaining independent however Christine was not and felt that Bruce would be ‘better off in a nursing home’.

Bruce had a history of alcohol dependency, and had been diagnosed with diabetes and a visual impairment and the facility were concerned about the safety of Bruce’s home and his nutrition. A neuropsychologist’s report , indicating that Bruce suffered from vascular dementia, was attached to the application. SRV obtained a copy of a recent Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) assessment which had not been provided to VCAT. The ACAS assessment indicated that Bruce had no cognitive impairment. Therefore there was a lack of information indicating Bruce’s incapacity.

Bruce was becoming increasingly frustrated with the facility as he had been told he could not return home until the outcome of the VCAT application was determined. Bruce was told if he tried to leave the facility the police would be called.

Action & outcome

With the assistance of Seniors Rights Victoria, Bruce attended the VCAT hearing. At the hearing the Tribunal member adjourned the further hearing of the matter until the facility could co-ordinate a meeting with the family and Seniors Rights Victoria. At the meeting a discharge plan was discussed and Bruce was able to return home with the support of two of his children and a Home and Community Care package. The facility then withdrew their application.