Being a good attorney
We have collated a range of information and resources from various organisations here for you to access. Many of the links will take you to an external website where you can access what you are looking for. Compass.info is another great source of elder abuse information. To navigate, click a topic below or ‘back to the top’ to return to this menu.
Understanding your attorney role
It very important to understand your attorney role properly. ADA Australia’s explainer video will help you (among other things), understand when your powers begin, how you are to make decisions, as well as your ethical and legal obligations. Both ADA Law and Compass.info have great webpages too, with information about how to be a good attorney. There is also a useful factsheet produced by the Queensland Government.
General Principles and Healthcare Principle
Anyone who exercises a function or power as an attorney must abide by the General Principles. If the decision relates to health care, an attorney must also abide by the Health Care Principle. These can often provide some further guidance about how to handle complex decisions, as well as ensure you are respecting the wishes and preferences of the person you are acting for.
Understanding Capacity and Capacity Assessment
A person’s capacity to make a decision about a particular matter may come into question when there are genuine concerns about whether the person can:
- Understand the nature and effect of decisions about a matter
- Freely and voluntarily make decisions about the matter, and
- Communicate the decisions in some way
To learn more about capacity and capacity assessment, we highly recommend the Queensland Government’s extensive Capacity Assessment Guidelines. The Office of the Public Guardian also has a useful factsheet with a more brief overview of capacity.
Using supported decision-making
Supported decision-making is when one person gives another person the support they need to participate in a decision. An adult’s capacity to make a decision can depend on support given to them. You should attempt to include an adult in decisions that affect them before making a substitute decision (making a decision on behalf of the person you are acting for). Page 12 of the Capacity Assessment Guidelines (QLD Government) outlines this and gives a case example of using supported decision making in practice. ADA Law and QAI have also co-produced an excellent guide for using supported decision making.