Ontario Ministry of Health reverses course on guardianship requirement for disabled woman who can sign her own name
By the Toronto Star
Published: April 24, 2016
The Ontario government announced Thursday that its previous decision to require a caregiver to sign a woman’s name on a hospital prescription forms is being reversed, after health experts raised concerns that the policy was not based on sound medical evidence.
In response to the public backlash over the decision, the province will now permit a woman who receives care in a hospital to provide a written statement, which the woman can sign independently, that she’s the “sole source” of the prescription.
The reversal comes with a caveat, however – a woman can no longer be signed out of the hospital or into another facility without a guardian’s signature.
“This is a critical step for patients and family members who rely on these services,” said Michael McNeill, Ontario’s minister of health, in a statement.
“At the same time, this initiative is important to improving access to palliative care.”
While the province reversed its previous decision to require a caregiver to sign a woman’s name on drug prescriptions, the reversal may be temporary, according to a spokesperson for the ministry of health.
McNeill said his government’s goal is to have a decision to reverse the caregiver-signing requirement made official by June 1. McNeill said the decision was made after months of consultation with provincial health agencies, health-care providers and experts in disability policy.
“We listened and we acted with a new emphasis on the rights and well-being of a person with a disability and looked at how to ensure the best possible treatment for people with disabilities,” McNeill said.
“We are continuing that conversation, and will decide this fall whether we make some adjustments to our policies.”
Under McNeill’s plan, the women who receive care in a