Definition of ‘Person Responsible’

A Person Responsible makes decisions for children and adults who have a disability and who are incapable of consenting to treatment. The Person Responsible is not necessarily the patient's next of kin. It is a statutory concept defined in Section 4 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 (Tasmania).

If the patient is a child, the person responsible is the child's spouse if they are married, or in all other cases the child's parent.

If the patient is an adult, the Person Responsible in priority order is either:

  • a guardian (including an Enduring Guardian) who has the power to consent to health care, which includes the power to refuse or withdraw consent to treatment
  • a spouse ­including a de­ facto spouse
  • an unpaid carer who is now providing domestic services or support to the patient, or who provided these services and support before the patient entered a residential facility
  • a relative or friend who has both a close personal relationship and a personal interest in the patient's welfare.

It is the responsibility of the medical practitioner recommending treatment to determine whether a person qualifies as the patient's Person Responsible. If the medical practitioner cannot decide between competing persons, the matter should be referred to the Guardianship and Administration Board.

There can only be one Person Responsible for the patient.