Important information about the process for discharging a patient with impaired decision making capacity

OPG understands that given the current COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals need to have as many beds available as possible, and therefore are seeking to discharge patients wherever they have been deemed fit for discharge.

However it is very important to understand that if the patient is under the guardianship of the Public Guardian (OPG) for accommodation matters, they cannot be discharged until OPG has made a decision about where the adult can be moved to.

While we appreciate the need for beds to be available, and will always aim to make decisions promptly, our first priority is always to the adult. So we must do our due diligence and ensure our decisions about where an adult should reside complies with the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and relevant policies and procedures.

This means a guardian can only make a decision to move an adult to accommodation where it has been deemed:

  1. Suitable to the client’s needs, including that they have appropriate aged care or NDIS funding
  2. financially affordable and their financial administrator will provide consent
  3. all relevant evidence has been submitted, including for example OT reports or ACAT assessments
  4. the adult has been consulted and have provided their views and preferences. (Note: all clients have the right to seek a review of their decision including applying to QCAT to seek a stay of decision).

If an adult doesn’t have the capacity to make a decision about their accommodation and there is no formal or informal decision maker in place, an application should be made to QCAT to have a decision maker appointed.

OPG is starting to see a number of interim QCAT applications for accommodation decisions citing that an adult is at immediate risk because they could be at risk of contracting COVID-19.

At this time we do not consider a client in hospital to be at any greater immediate risk of harm as hospitals have implemented protocols to isolate patients with COVID 19.  In these circumstances a standard application should be made to QCAT using form 10.

To request an accommodation decision, please contact OPG at

For more information on making an application for guardianship, please refer to QCAT.