What is a Rogers guardianship?
A guardian for an adult is a person appointed by a judge in the Probate and Family Court who is given responsibility to make decisions for an individual after a judge has decided they aren't competent to make their own informed decisions. Some guardians can make decisions about treatment of a person with mental illness that is considered “extraordinary” medical treatment. These are called Rogers guardianships.
At a Rogers guardianship hearing, the court is asked to authorize extraordinary medical treatment for an incapacitated person. This usually refers to treatment with antipsychotic medication, but it may include other intrusive treatments and procedures, such as sterilization or electroconvulsive therapy.
If a person who has been determined to be incapacitated is prescribed antipsychotic medications, the incapacitated person will need a guardian who has been granted Rogers authority by the court.
When can Rogers authority be granted?
Before Rogers authority is granted, the court must find that the person:
- Is incapacitated and not competent to give informed consent with respect to being treated with antipsychotic medications, and
- If incompetent, determine what the person would choose to do if they were competent, with regard to taking antipsychotic medication(s).
This is called a “substituted judgment” standard, where the court substitutes itself for the incapacitated person and attempts to determine what the person would decide for themself if they were competent.
The court must consider the following when determining substituted judgment:
- Preferences the person may have expressed previously regarding treatment with antipsychotic medications
- The person’s religious convictions
- The impact of the decision on the person’s family
- The probability of adverse side effects
- Possible outcomes (prognosis) with and without treatment
Rogers guardianship cases are reviewed every year by the court.
Petitioner & respondent
The person who files a petition in court is called the petitioner. The petitioner may be a:
- State agency
- Family member
The petitioner informs the court about the person’s condition and needs.
The person the petitioner thinks needs assistance is called the respondent. In a Rogers guardianship, the respondent is an incapacitated person.
The respondent has the right:
- To an attorney. When the petition is filed, if the respondent can't afford a lawyer, the court will appoint an attorney to represent them. The attorney will tell the court what the person wants, not necessarily what is in their best interests.
- To notice that a petition for guardianship has been filed and the date, time, and place of the court hearing
- To be present at the hearing unless there are significant reasons for not attending
- To object to the appointment of a guardian and the right to present evidence and cross-examine
- To object to who will be named guardian or monitor.
What is a Rogers monitor?
When the court grants the guardian Rogers authority, the court also appoints a person who is called a Rogers monitor to oversee that the respondent is being medicated in accordance with the court-approved treatment plan. The Rogers monitor may be the person who was appointed as guardian or it may be a different person.
The Rogers monitor should immediately review the details of the Appointment of Rogers Monitor (CJP 115) form, which describes the duties of the monitor. The Rogers monitor and the guardian will review medical records, meet with staff, and may attend case conferences if the respondent is in a hospital or other facility.
The Rogers monitor must report to the court in writing on a regular basis. A report must be filed prior to the yearly review. Failure to file reports may result in removal of the monitor.