What Information Should Be Discussed With The Patient During The Informed Consent Process?
Where possible, it is desirable for the informed consent
discussion to occur a sufficient period of time before the proposed
procedure or treatment in order to allow the patient time to consider
the information and ask questions.
During the discussion, it is
recommended that the physician use language the patient can
understand and avoid the use of "medical jargon."
consent discussion may take place in the physician's office prior the
patient's hospital admission, in the patient's hospital room, and in
emergent situations, in the emergency room or other
procedure/treatment areas of the hospital.
A patient must have capacity in order to give informed consent.
requires that the patient understand the proposed procedure or
treatment and be able to voluntarily give or withhold his or her
consent after making an informed decision.
Informed consent may be
given by adult patients with capacity, the parent or legal guardian
of a minor, emancipated minors under specific circumstances or a
court or patient designated surrogate of a patient without capacity.
In some instances, a family surrogate may give consent.
The following information should be discussed with the patient and
documented in the medical record:
As a general rule, a physician is required to disclose information
to a patient that a reasonably prudent person under similar
circumstances would want to know.
- The nature of the patient's illness, the diagnosis, the
proposed treatment plan and the prognosis.
- A description of the recommended procedure or treatment, and
- The probable outcome particularly if it is difficult to
predict, and the patient's expected post-procedure/treatment
- The most likely risks and side-effects, the potential
benefits, as well as the potential complications of the procedure
or treatment. (see below)
- Reasonable alternative methods of treatment or non-treatment
including the risks, benefits, complications, and prognosis
associated with each alternative or with non-treatment.
A physician need not disclose all
of the risks or complications which may occur, but should discuss:
those commonly associated with the procedure or treatment and having
a reasonable chance of occurring; and
2) those which have a large
chance of occurring, but which have grave consequences.
or remote risks/complications should be discussed with the patient if
they are significant to that patient.