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Homework Question - Australian Law on Individual Rights?

Discussion in 'Australian Law Students Forum' started by mah20, 30 September 2016.

  1. mah20

    mah20 Member

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    Hi.

    I'm study nursing and I have this case scenario I need help with it. I need talk from the perspective of Mr Wintering and his right by Australian Law.

    Mr Jack Wintering: Individual’s rights to ...

    Mr Jack Wintering is 68, single, and living in the supported accommodation facility where you (a senior EN) work. Jack’s only known relative is a distant cousin, and he looks upon the staff of this facility as his ‘family’.

    Jack has a couple of hobbies that you are increasingly uncomfortable with. The first is his involvement with mail-order companies. Every week, several parcels arrive with products Jack has ordered. Quite often, he also receives a “free” product as part of a customer-appreciation deal. Inevitably, Jack gives these ‘freebies’ to individual staff members. Although this practice started quite innocently (with a bar of chocolate or a packet of lollies), of late Jack has been giving away gifts such as watches (‘replicas’ but still of some value), ‘fancy’ pens, diaries or similar items.

    You are concerned that accepting such gifts is unethical. You want to ask Jack to stop giving these goods to staff, but you are not sure of whether you would be breaching any policies, or rights, or law.

    You are also very concerned about Jack’s visits twice a week to the local tab in a nearby Social Club. You know from the betting slips you’ve seen on his table that Jack is spending on average $100-200 a weekend on bets. You once jokingly suggested he was wasting his money. His quick response was that it was his “honestly-earned” money, so he could spend it how he wants.

    You are also concerned that he might be having ‘one too many’ alcoholic drinks, as he appears to be staggering and slurring his words on his return to the facility. He most often goes straight to his room, and then sleeps through till the next morning.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    What is the question? And whose rights do you have to consider (Jacks, nursing staff, employer, other)? Do you also have to consider obligations/Duty of Care?

    Is there any information on the agreement between Jack and the supported accommodation facility? What does 'supported' mean? There may be a contractual obligation between the two parties.

    Is this partly an ethical question or strictly legal?

    Keep in mind there are very few individual rights under Australian law :( We rely on the good graces of our Governments, which is increasingly in short supply.
     
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  3. mah20

    mah20 Member

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    Hi Rod, thanks for your comment.

    I have to talk about Jack's right and I want know what law act there is for elderly people, for example, and explain the law that every one has right to spend their money on whatever they want.
     
  4. mah20

    mah20 Member

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    This scenario is not real, it is a case study that I have to do, but I need some help with law for Jack's rights
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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  6. Mary W

    Mary W Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mah,

    I read this question a little differently. It sounds like it is a little more complicated than you might think. My reading of it is that you might be expected to consider, amongst other things, issues relating to Guardianship and Power of Attorney, and the Guardianship Tribunal as they are called in in NSW, for reasons touched on below.

    It is not the case that everyone in every situation has the right to do what they want with their own money (or to behave any way they want) so do not assume that it is.

    Bottom line - the issues you raise appear to be about whether a person, ie Jack, has the capacity to manage his own money and make decisions about how he lives his life, and the circumstances in which others may be able to legally intervene (as opposed to not liking what he is doing) and impose limits. Such intervention can be done by someone with POA or financial management powers, and/or guardianship. Neither of these are given lightly.

    Also, as Rod raised, it is not clear what you mean by "supported accommodation". Is it aged care, or does he have a physical or some other disability which means he lives in another form of supported accommodation? You need to know what supported accommodation is.

    Another word of caution. If you start digging into this (which I suggest you need to do), do not confuse Guardianship and Power of Attorney. They are very different things. Neither would be appropriate for you to hold as a nurse but you need to know about them. Note the hint in the question that you need to discuss your rights to intervene as it refers to Jack having little family and him considering the staff his family.

    Further, most facilities should already have a policy in place about gifts. If not - they had better get one.

    I hope I have not overly complicated this, but POA and Guardianship are major practical issues when someone is in care. Also, health professionals often get them confused. I know all this because unfortunately I have been dealing with it.

    Feel free to ask more questions.
     
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