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FAQs for Health Professionals

1. Is it reasonable for staff at hospitals and aged-care facilities to witness EPGs? 

Hospitals and aged-care facilities will need to develop their own policies and guidelines about whether staff can or should witness Enduring Power of Guardianship (EPG) documents. This guidance will be important to ensure duty of care requirements are met and that staff are not placed under duress to witness powers especially where there may be concerns about the capacity of the person making the EPG.

2. Can service providers request a copy of an EPG?

When seeking decisions on behalf of a person who has lost capacity, it will be important for service providers to ensure they approach the correct person. Therefore service providers should ensure that requesting a copy of any EPG is part of the process when a person becomes a client. Service providers should also consider how to record information about the EPG, the authority of the enduring guardian and how to ensure all staff are aware of this.

3. If a client's enduring guardian appears to be struggling with the role, what support is available and how can I help them?

If you can see an enduring guardian is having difficulty in their role, perhaps because a decision is complex or they do not have time to see the person regularly, it would be helpful to discuss their concerns to see if they can be resolved.

The Office of the Public Advocate’s Guide to Enduring Power of Guardianship in Western Australia provides information to an enduring guardian about the decision making process. Reading this may be enough to assist them in their role. The enduring guardian can also contact the Office of the Public Advocate's Telephone Advisory Service on 1300 858 455. While the advisory office cannot make the decision for the enduring guardian, they may be able to offer advice which will assist them in their role.

4. If I suspect that an enduring guardian is acting inappropriately in the role, what should I do?

If you have reason to believe that an enduring guardian is in any way abusing or neglecting the appointor, or not making decisions which are in their best interests, and talking with the enduring guardian has not resolved your concerns, you may wish to consider making an application to the State Administrative Tribunal in relation to the operation of the EPG.

5. What role should I play if a client wishes to complete an EPG?

Service providers and health professionals play a key role in ensuring that consumers have easy access to information about enduring powers of guardianship and how to make them. While it is anticipated that people will complete the powers independently, as a service provider you may be able to assist in directing people where to get the appropriate information, such as the Office of the Public Advocate’s website, range of publications and Telephone Advisory Service.

6. A client who made an EPG has since lost capacity. Who do I consult for decisions regarding personal, lifestyle and treatment matters?

If a person has made an EPG they will have decided who should make specific decisions on their behalf when they lose capacity. Service providers will need to see the EPG in order to know who has been appointed as enduring guardian(s) and what decision they have the authority to make. Where the enduring guardian has the authority to make the required decision you must consult the enduring guardian.

If a decision is required for which the enduring guardian does not have the required authority, and a decision cannot be made informally, the enduring guardian may wish to make an application to the State Administrative Tribunal for a variation of the EPG.

Last updated: 1-Sep-2016

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