If a person is over 18 years old and is unable to make decisions for themselves, they may need a guardian to help with this.
The Public Advocate can be appointed by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) as a Guardian of Last Resort if:
- a person is unable to make a particular decision on their own
- there is a lifestyle, accommodation, and/or health decision to be made
- there is no other appropriate person to be appointed.
When the Public Advocate is appointed as a person's guardian, the person is known as a ‘Protected Person’.
A person under guardianship is allocated an advocate/guardian who will get to know their circumstances and concerns.
The guardian (or team) can then:
- make decisions on behalf of the person
- advocate for access to services
- promote coordination of services
- facilitate communication and conflict resolution, if it is relevant to the person’s wellbeing.
What does an OPA guardian do?
A public guardian will try to gather information about the person's:
- history and personal circumstances
- treatment and support needs
- any risks or need for protection.
A guardian will gather this information by
- meeting with people who are involved in the person's care
- gathering assessment reports
- requesting information in writing
- seeking the views of the person, if they are capable of participating in decision-making
- talking with family members and friends who have an active and positive role in the person's life.