When to contact OPG for COVID-19 related decisions for clients under the guardianship of the Public Guardian

We know that at this time there may be a lot of uncertainty around when you do and do not need to contact OPG around COVID-19 related decisions for adults under guardianship of the Public Guardian, so we wish to provide the following information as guidance.

Social distancing and isolation

Our expectation is that all clients and service providers would be following government recommendations and advice in relation to social distancing and isolation.

We understand that as service providers you are in the best position to understand the needs of and risks to our clients, and to implement strategies to meet social distancing and isolation guidelines. So we do not object to you changing the way you provide a service to a client if it serves this purpose.

For example, if you would generally support our client to shop for groceries, but the client won’t, or is unlikely to, follow social distancing rules we would be supportive of you not continuing with this activity at the present time. Similarly we would expect you to take any urgent action necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of a client, which would include self-isolation where recommended by Queensland Health.

We feel there is no need for formal guardianship decisions to be made in these urgent circumstances. Please take the necessary urgent action, then inform OPG at the earliest possible opportunity.

Please also note that OPG does not need to approve or consent to any COVID-19 plans for clients, including service-specific emergency/disaster business continuity plans.

COVID-19 testing

Where a client falls into categories defined by Queensland Health for testing, assessment or treatment for COVID-19, service providers should assist clients to undertake the test/assessment and/or treatment. Service providers do not need to contact OPG for consent in such circumstances. Health providers should follow the normal consent process for procedures.

Making decisions for multiple clients

We understand, of course, that outside of the above scenarios there are still formal decisions that need to be made, and we also know that many service providers will have more than one OPG client in their care.

However it is very important to note that all decisions must take into account, the General Principles within the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000, and the Human Rights Act 2019. This means that for every decision made we will require details of each client's specific circumstances, to demonstrate why the particular client's arrangements should be changed so we can record the specific reasons a decision was made for an individual client.  This means we are unable to make a blanket guardianship decision for a number clients at once – if you have multiple clients you wish a decision on to be made for you will need to make each as a separate request.