About Treatment Guardianship

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This Resources forum is for discussing any resources within New Mexico that are pertinent to mental health. While it is encouraged to ask questions and relate specific factual experiences (good or bad) with local resources, please refrain from using this forum to resolve any specific issues you may have with a resource provider. Examples of resource types that may be discussed include, but are not limited to, behavioral health hospitals and treatment facilities, alcohol & substance abuse treatment facilities, education courses (other than those discussed in the NAMI "programs forum"), other (non-NAMI) support groups, employment services, disability services, emergency services, etc.
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About Treatment Guardianship

Post by Ronnie » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:14 pm

While it may seem daunting to obtain a treatment guardianship for the care and protection of your loved one for some, I found my experience easy. My son's UNM psych hospital doctors and case worker handled the logistics. The actual hearing happened within a matter of days. The court is physically located inside of the hospital. And my son had a court appointed attorney.
The treatment guardianship provided the legal leverage that I needed.
I found that HIPAA rules were no longer a barrier.
I was able to help decide strategies for appropriate care for my son.
I asked questions and received answers without hesitation.
I hope this information is helpful to a caregiver who might be feeling helpless right now.
I've been there.

https://www.drnm.org (PDF)

What is a Treatment Guardian?
A person appointed by a court to make mental health treatment decisions on behalf of an
individual who the court finds by “clear and convincing” evidence is not capable of
making their own treatment decisions or informed consent.
What is Informed Consent?
A physician has a duty to provide information about recommended treatment. A person
who uses this information and, after considering the risks and benefits of proposed
treatment, decides to accept or reject treatment is practicing informed consent or making
an informed decision. A person is assumed to be capable of giving or withholding
informed consent. If it is believed that a person is not capable of informed consent, a
petition for a treatment guardian may be filed.
What is the Procedure for Petitioning for a Treatment Guardian?
A “Petition for Appointment of Treatment Guardian” must be filed with a District court.
A copy of the petition is served to the individual who is subject of the petition and their
attorney. A hearing must be held within 3 court days. At the hearing, the individual has
the right to be present, be represented by an attorney, present and cross –examine
witnesses. The court will determine by “clear and convincing” evidence whether the
individual is capable of informed consent or not.
Who can petition the court for a treatment guardian?
Any mental health professional, Developmental Disabilities professional, physician or
any interested person who believes the individual is incapable of informed consent can
petition a court for the appointment of a treatment guardian.
How long can a treatment guardian be appointed?
Appointment by a court can be no longer than 1 year. If at the end of the treatment
guardian appointment; the treatment guardian believes the individual is still incapable of
making their own mental health treatment decisions, the treatment guardian may petition
the court for a reappointment or appointment of new a treatment guardian. The
individual will be represented by an attorney at the hearing and has the right to be present
and present evidence supporting individual’s ability to make their own mental health
treatment decisions. If the court finds at the time of the hearing that the individual is
incapable of informed consent, the treatment guardian appointment may be extended or a
new guardian appointed.

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