Where do you go when there are concerns about a person’s cognitive or legal capacity? How do you make appropriate decisions? The decision may be about their welfare, wealth, wellbeing, financial affairs, medical treatment, or legal documents such as guardianship or an enduring power of attorney.

That situation is a typical assignment for the multidisciplinary Capacity & Capability Clinic. It was established in 2020 to put clients at the centre for making those types of decisions.

Freelance journalist Fran Molloy reports on the Clinic’s work in The Lighthouse publication of Macquarie University. Her article is titled Lawyers and doctors work together in new clinic to support vulnerable decision-makers.

In a first of its kind approach, the Clinic teams a consulting clinical neuropsychologist with lawyers. They collaboratively advise on pathways to support the preferences of people with diminished decision making ability. When needed they refer clients to a network of closely collaborating professionals in specialist areas of financial planning, accounting, law and medicine.

The Clinic’s approach is especially relevant for:
  • Elder adults with early-stage dementia and other cognitive challenges
  • Families seeking to manage a crisis, minimise conflict and support a relative
  • Vulnerable people who’ve had health or other scare and need to chart a new future
  • Supporters who vary or conflict on what is in the best interests of a person under care
The Clinic regularly consults and provides evaluation reports on:
  • Capacity to manage financial affairs
  • Change of residence decisions
  • Consent to a medical procedure or treatment
  • Appointing or activating a power of enduring guardianship or enduring power of attorney
That Clinic calls that work medico-legal capacity and capability assessment. It’s a service with a fixed fee of $990 (inclusive of GST) that provides clients with:
  • 1.5 to 2 hour medico-legal consultation appointment, including the opportunity for the client, as well as any accompanying family members or supporters, to discuss the client’s objectives
  • Evaluation Report outlining in writing the primary findings and advice of our multidisciplinary medico-legal client services team (consulting clinical neuropsychologist Dr Jane Lonie and lawyer Michael Perkins), and where appropriate a care pathway covering any follow-on matters requiring resolution

For the service Dr Lonie and Mr Perkins draw on their collectively 55 plus years experience in supported decision making for clients in a very wide range of circumstances. Both are recognised expert practitioners, authors and educators in their fields.

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Contact the Clinic

Clinic consultations can be face to face or through tele-health sessions. For queries or appointments send an email (click here) or call 1300 31 42 82. The Clinic consults via Zoom, Skype, telephone and audio conference sessions or combinations of these choices.

Photo credit: Mael Balland, Unsplash.

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