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Rogers Guardianships and antipsychotic medications

The court in Massachusetts may appoint a guardian for an elderly person who lacks the ability to make important decisions regarding his or her own care. According to the Massachusetts Guardianship Association, someone requesting the guardianship must provide evidence that the person in question is incapacitated and needs a guardian to make health care and other decisions for him or her. Normal guardianship does not cover all medical circumstances, though, and in some situations, the court may require a Rogers Guardianship.

Extraordinary treatments can only be administered by a person granted a Rogers Guardianship, and these include intrusive, limiting or risky treatments. One of these is the administration of antipsychotic medications. The court considers two factors before granting this authority. Not only must the person who needs the medication be determined unable to give informed consent, the court must also consider whether the person would choose the treatment if he or she had the capacity.

Before determining in favor of the second factor, the court has to consider personal issues that the incapacitated person might have with the treatment. These include the following:

  • Potential for adverse side effects
  • Prognosis with and without the medication
  • Religious convictions
  • Impact on the family

According to Mass.gov, before making the judgment, it is also important to uncover whether the person expressed any preferences regarding antipsychotic medications while still competent. 

This type of guardianship is necessarily monitored by a person appointed by the court and reviewed annually. The role of a Rogers Monitor includes reviewing medical records and, if the incapacitated person is a resident of a hospital or facility, attending meetings there regarding his or her care. Duties also include filing reports to the court.

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