• Reaching Families Project

    Online Support for People Who Care About Someone with a Mental Illness

New here...

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sully02
Regular Poster
Posts: 3
Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Other provinces in Canada

New here...

Unread postby sully02 » 06 Oct 2013

I am brand new to this site. Don't even know how to navigate it yet really. Anyways...I have a brother...bipolar with schizophrenia/psychosis. Our family has been through hell for the past five years. My brother is 43; I am the only sibling younger than he. He is currently homeless (again) and we have begun to research the options of having a legal guardian and trustee appointed for him. I, as his sister, am being asked to consider this. I live in Alberta. Does anyone have any experience with being a legal guardian? Anyone know much about what it entails?

Frankly...our family is falling apart. I am desperately looking for support so we don't all completely lose it...

Thanks,
Sully

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AndrewBCSS
Site Admin
Posts: 1298
Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Relationship: Other
gender: male
Region: Lower Mainland BC
City or Region: Vancouver
Location: British Columbia
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Re: New here...

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 07 Oct 2013

Hi Sully,
There are a lot of family members on this site with experience to share. I did some looking around for you. Have you gotten in touch with the Schizophrenia Society of Alberta? They will know the ins and outs of the local legislation and services. The family support groups are also a good place to get local information and support in figuring out how best to get your brother help. They won't care whether his diagnosis is schizophrenia or bipolar, they will still help you. http://www.schizophrenia.ab.ca/index.ph ... pport.html

The strengthening families together program (also on their site) could be good for your family members as well, to make sure everyone is on the same page in their knowledge about the illness.

In BC I don't think guardianship is used, but our mental health act has something called extended leave, which is meant to make sure that a person stays on their medication and treatment when released from hospital. I would ask the Alberta Schizophrenia Society whether Alberta has extended leave or community treatment orders and how to access that. Here's the mental health act info for Alberta: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/mha.asp You do seem to have community treatment orders, which is good. The act also has this provision for involuntary treatment, similar to BC:
When a physician examines a person and is of the opinion that the person is
a. suffering from a mental disorder,
b.likely to cause harm to themselves or others or to suffer substantial mental or physical deterioration or serious physical impairment, and
c.unsuitable for admission to a facility other than as a normal patient,the physician may, not later than 24hours after the examination, issue an admission certificate in the prescribed form with respect to the person.

When reading section B above it is important to notice the last part of the sentence. Your brother doesn't have to be harming himself or others or likely to do so, but can also be admitted without his consent if his health will badly suffer if he doesn't enter hospital. This is important, as self neglect and being unable to take care of himself can become grounds for admission. The problem is often that services are underfunded and there aren't enough beds, so hospitals will be inclined to be very thrifty in who they admit and how long they keep them, not usually a good thing. My suggestion is to print off and bring this documentation with you, and keep a journal of what you observe with your brother so you can help make the case to have him admitted when he needs it.

Good luck!!
Sincerely,
Sophia
___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org

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sully02
Regular Poster
Posts: 3
Joined: 06 Oct 2013
Relationship: Sibling (brother, sister)
gender: female
Region: Other provinces in Canada

Re: New here...

Unread postby sully02 » 07 Oct 2013

Thanks Sophia...

Yes, we have the community treatment orders here (CTO) and my brother has been on them numerous times. As a matter of fact, he is on one now. Therefore, he is mostly taking his meds and is mostly lucid. But...we all know how fast that can change.

He's living with my mom in the same community as myself and a sister of ours. My mom is going crazy. We are trying to find him a group home. Lots of conflict in the family as to the best course of action etc.

In the meantime, he is not doing well despite the meds. He's lethargic, filthy (refuses to shower or even brush his teeth) won't cut his hair etc. etc. He is minimally verbal (out of choice) and basically just a joy to be around (pardon the sarcasm)

In any case, he is not able to care for himself, not able to handle his finances and has nothing but the clothes on his back. His "girlfriend" just stole everything he had...everything! (They were living in a motorhome and she took the whole thing and everything in it...including draining his bank account). Lovely hey? Sigh...

Anyway, I have been in touch with the schizophrenia society in my community. I have an appt to speak with someone there about the legal guardianship stuff. I also found out about support group days/times. Frankly though, with a full time job, a husband and two young kids, the idea of online support is more appealing in many respects.

This site seems pretty quiet. Or is only this particular 'board' or 'forum' that hasn't had posters in awhile??

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AndrewBCSS
Site Admin
Posts: 1298
Joined: 21 Mar 2007
Relationship: Other
gender: male
Region: Lower Mainland BC
City or Region: Vancouver
Location: British Columbia
Contact:

Re: New here...

Unread postby AndrewBCSS » 07 Oct 2013

Yes, the sibling board is pretty quiet, but the private family forum is more active.

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___________________
Andrew Stewart
Operations Manager
British Columbia Schizophrenia Society
A reason to hope. The means to cope.
www.bcss.org


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