A woman who was subject to guardianship and trusteeship under the Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) contacted our office with complaints about her experience. She believed the PGT should have noticed sooner that the psychological condition that caused her to be placed under care had improved. She also complained that the PGT made decisions on her behalf which she believed were unfair, including placing her in a private care home that she believed overcharged for its services and selling her personal vehicle.
We contacted the PGT through our informal resolution process to relay her complaints and pose questions about the PGT’s actions and decisions. We learned that although the PGT had no written policies regarding the monitoring of a client’s clinical condition, in practice they do monitor for improvements. This practice is what led to the termination of the guardianship and trusteeship in this case. The PGT explained that the termination of guardianship and trusteeship is ultimately dependent on professional medical opinions and the will of the courts. The PGT can only provide opinions in support of an argument for removing an individual from care.
In the complainant’s case, the PGT arranged for medical reassessments of her condition within a few months of becoming aware that she may no longer require guardianship and trusteeship. When the medical assessment supported that conclusion, the PGT acted diligently to request her removal from guardianship and trusteeship by the courts, which occurred less than two months later.
As part of our investigation we learned that the PGT has provided input on proposed new legislation, the Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act, which provides for guidance on how and when reviews of guardianship and trusteeship orders should occur. If passed, we understand that the new legislation would codify the practice it already has in place.
With respect to the woman’s complaints about the selling of her vehicle, we learned that the PGT made this decision based on a psychiatrist’s opinion that her driver’s license would not be reinstated. Despite her capacity eventually improving to the point that she was again able to drive, we could not fault the PGT for taking action based on the doctor’s opinion. To address her complaint about expenses she was charged while residing at the care home, we obtained records from PGT of what was charged, which we confirmed was not unreasonable.
Following a thorough assessment of the woman’s complaint, we determined that no further action was required and closed our file.