In her best in­ter­est

P.E.I. woman fights to con­tinue to live in the com­mu­nity with her fam­ily and friends

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - BY MAU­REEN COUL­TER mau­reen.coul­ter@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/Mau­reenEl­izaC

The room was full at P.E.I. Supreme Court on Thurs­day for a hear­ing over an ap­pli­ca­tion for guardian­ship of a Char­lot­te­town area woman.

The pub­lic guardian act­ing on be­half of the min­is­ter of health and well­ness ap­plied for guardian­ship un­der the Men­tal Health Act to man­age the woman’s per­sonal affairs.

The Guardian has cho­sen not to pub­lish the woman’s name and for the rest of the ar­ti­cle she will be re­ferred to as June.

June is op­posed to the guardian­ship ap­pli­ca­tion as it stands be­fore the court but agrees to a plan that would ad­dress her level 4 nurs­ing re­quire­ments.

June has been liv­ing at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal in Char­lot­te­town for more than a year and would need daily nurs­ing care.

The court­room had sev­eral friends of June who were there sup­port­ing her in what she wants- to live in the com­mu­nity with sup­port.

“It’s ob­vi­ous to me there are a lot of peo­ple in the court­room who have an in­ter­est in this mat­ter,” said Jus­tice Wayne Chev­erie. “This is not com­mon in th­ese cases to have so much in­ter­est in an ap­pli­ca­tion un­der the Men­tal Health Act.”

June has reached out to spe­cific peo­ple to sup­port her in her day-to-day de­ci­sion mak­ing.

“It’s about how we sup­port peo­ple to main­tain agency in their life,” said Ros­alind Wa­ters of Ge­orge­town.

Joe Byrne of Char­lot­te­town has known June for 20 years and feels she can func­tion with­out a guardian be­cause of this sup­port net­work.

“Th­ese are peo­ple that know her and love her and sup­port her,” he said. “We are ask­ing the sys­tem to con­sider that there are enough other el­e­ments in this to de­velop a plan.”

A place­ment plan has been put forth for June to be tran­si­tioned to the care of an as­so­ciate fam­ily, sanc­tioned by the Queens County Res­i­den­tial Ser­vices Inc., for day-to-day care.

Dur­ing the busi­ness week, June would spend time at the Queens Coun­try Res­i­den­tial Ser­vices Inc. fa­cil­ity to par­tic­i­pate in pro­grams and ac­tiv­i­ties.

“The pub­lic guardian is will­ing to see if the plan is vi­able and see if this is a work­able so­lu­tion to the sit­u­a­tion here,” said Robert MacNevin, who was rep­re­sent­ing the pub­lic guardian.

As only the broad strokes of the plan were pre­sented, Chev­erie ad­journed the mat­ter so he can view the full de­tailed plan.

Chev­erie said this is an obli­ga­tion the he takes se­ri­ously.

“We hear from all sides but ul­ti­mately it’s the courts de­ci­sion and we make that de­ci­sion in what we be­lieve is in the best in­ter­est of the per­son who is the sub­ject of the ap­pli­ca­tion.”

The case will be be­fore the court on Jan. 21 af­ter Chev­erie has had a chance to re­view the file.

“When I re­ceive the plan, I will then de­ter­mine which di­rec­tion the file will go.”

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