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Review of the Dependant Adult Act

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April 23, 2003

The Honourable Mr. Stan Woloshyn, Minister for Seniors

#425 Alberta Legislature Building

Edmonton, AB

Dear Mr. Minister

Re: DEPENDENT ADULTS ACT Chapter D 32

Further to:

  1. Correspondence of November 8, 2000 sent to the office of The Honourable Mr. Clint Dunford, Minister of Human Resources & Employment with recommendations concerning the above referenced DEPENDENT ADULTS ACT Chapter D 32.
  2. Our meeting on December 1, 2000, with legislative specialists Ms. Lenore Neudorf LL.B. and Ms. Christina Gauk B.A., LL.B., PhD. with recommendations concerning DEPENDANT ADULTS ACT Chapter D 32.

The core problem is the Dependant Adult Act and it is actually used and works in the courts. There is no proportionality in the system and the usual safeguards of the law do not exist for senior citizens.

The DEPENDENT ADULTS ACT Chapter D 32:

  1. Sharply curtails the rights of the dependent adult person
  2. Fails to protect and provide physical, mental, emotional and financial safety for the dependent adult.

THEREFORE, we recommend that the Act reflect the following:

The DEPENDENT ADULTS ACT Chapter D32 must clearly indicate that the appointed guardian/trustee has a duty of care to the dependent adult.

Section 10:

  1. The guardian is to be responsible to provide or facilitate the provision of safe, ethical nursing care, nursing assistance where required.
  2. The guardian who accepts into his/her care, a client who is institutionalized, must act in the best interests of the client and assume professional responsibility for and not limited to specific issues such as supervising and facilitating:
    1. The provision of physio-therapy in order to maintain or reestablish reasonable physical and mental health
    2. The provision of orthopedic support devices when required
    3. The provision of professional fitting for a walker/cane/wheelchair – when required
    4. The provision of appropriate, adequate food, appropriate/special diet
    5. The provision of an environment that leads to positive mental and emotional health
    6. The provision of appropriate dental care
  3. The guardian is to advocate the dependent adult’s rights in such matters but not limited to:
    1. The right not to be chemically restrained/prescribed or administered mind altering, psychotropic drugs
    2. The right not to be physically restrained
  4. The guardian is to advocate respect and protection for the clientOs dignity and mental well being by:
    1. Not allowing a continent client to be diapered without informed consent
    2. Not allowing a dependent adult to be permanently relegated to bed
    3. Safeguarding the clientOs right to safety of personal belongings by establishing and maintaining a written protocol concerning missing or stolen items
  5. The guardian who accepts an institutionalized client into his/her care must demand accurate, ethical recording, charting and reporting practices from caregivers.
  6. The guardian/trustee has a duty to report unsafe, unethical caregiving practices or the neglect or abuse of his/her client and seek appropriate remedial action.
  7. The guardian is to provide or facilitate a physical, mental and social environment that fosters positive mental and physical health.
  8. The guardian is to provide psycho/social and emotional support, necessary to maintain reasonable mental health and physical health for the dependent adult.
  9. Section 32:

  10. Available monies and assets of the dependent adult must be used for the welfare, care and comfort of the dependent adult and to ameliorate the needs of the dependent adult.
  11. Monies must be available to provide for optimum living of the dependent adult. Failure to do so, to result in the dismissal of the Trustee.
  12. There shall be maintained a comfort fund for the use of the dependent adult.
  13. Withholding of funds must be deemed and offense.
  14. When requested, there must be provision for independent auditing of accounts.
  15. Failure to act in compliance with the act and failure to act in the best interests of the dependent adult, to result in the immediate revoking of the court Order which granted the authority to the trustee/guardian.

We respectfully bring these matters of urgency to your attention.

Yours most truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta

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