Authority and Limitations of Guardians
Legal Role of Guardians:
Standard for guardian actions and decision-making: (ss. 54.18(4), Wis. Stats.)
Others with a role in planning and decision-making are the treatment team including:
Other Related Issues and Constitutional Rights:
There are various issues within a "gray area" including, but not limited to the following:
In these areas, individual rights and choices are to be respected and promoted as much as possible. The "Declaration of policy" for Ch. 55 states that services and placement are to place the least possible restrictions on personal liberty and exercise of constitutional rights, while protecting the individual from abuse, financial exploitation, neglect and self-neglect. For example, a guardian generally cannot unilaterally dictate who should be able to visit a person in a residential setting. Team assessment (including a "risk management" analysis) and documentation of any client rights limitation or denial is necessary.
Psychotropic Medications for Individuals Under Guardianship
A guardian can (unless limited by a Ch. 54 guardianship order) provide informed consent for voluntary psychotropic medications, if the medications are in the best interests of the ward. In deciding whether or not they are in the ward's best interests, the guardian must consider the invasiveness, the likely benefits, and the side effects of the psychotropic medication.
The guardian must have first made a good faith attempt to discuss with the ward the ward's voluntary receipt of the medications, and assess that the ward does not "protest" the medications. The definition of "protest" means for the ward to make more than one discernible negative response, other than mere silence, to the offer of, recommendation for, or other "proffering" of voluntary receipt of medications. "Protest" does not mean a discernible negative response to a proposed method of administration of the meds. If a ward does protest (as defined above), a guardian may consent to involuntary administration of psychotropic medications only with a court order. ss. 54.25(2)(d)2.a, Wis. Stats.
Involuntary administration of psychotropic medication" means any of the following:
Involuntary administration of psychotropic medications can be court-ordered as a protective service only under ss. 55.14, stats. To obtain a court order, it must be shown that a physician prescribed it, that the individual is incompetent to refuse it, and one of the standards of the subsections in ss. 55.14, Wis. Stats., has been met.
Note: There are other requirements for the petition to involuntarily administer medications. The summary provided above is to give guardians and providers a general sense of how the new Ch. 54 and Ch. 55 laws view voluntary and involuntary medication and to notify them that there are new standards for obtaining a court order for administering them.
Last Updated: July 12, 2010