You, your staff,
systems and site
Before performing a procedure, it is important to receive consent
from the patient:
permission to make an examination
what you intend to do before doing it
the patient if he or she has questions and answer them
Check that the patient has understood
permission to proceed
mindful of the comfort and privacy of others.
invasive and surgical procedures, it is particularly important
to give a full explanation of what you are proposing, your reasons
for wishing to undertake the procedure and what you hope to
find or accomplish. Ensure that you use language that can be
understood; draw pictures and use an interpreter, if necessary.
Allow the patient and family members to ask questions and to
think about what you have said. In some situations, it may be
necessary to consult with a family member or community elder
who may not be present; allow for this if the patient’s
condition permits. If a person is too ill to give consent (for
example, if they are unconscious) and their condition will not
allow further delay, you should proceed, without formal consent,
acting in the best interest of the patient. Record your reasoning
Be attentive to legal, religious, cultural,
linguistic and family norms and differences.
Some hospitals require patients to sign a document indicating
that the surgical procedure and potential complications have
been explained and that permission to proceed has been granted.
This paper is then included in the patient’s record. If
this is not a formal requirement in your hospital, document
the conversation in which consent was given and include the
names of people present at the discussion.
Informed consent means that the patient and the patient’s
family understand what is to take place, including the potential
risks and complications of both proceeding and not proceeding,
and have given permission for a course of action. It should
be a choice made free from coercion.
In our jobs as health care providers, we sometimes experience
situations which demand things with which we, as individuals,
may feel uncomfortable. Our duty as professionals to provide
service and care can come into conflict with our personal opinions.
It is important to be aware of these feelings when they occur
and to understand where they are coming from. If we are asked
to care for someone who is alleged to have committed a crime,
it is not our responsibility to administer justice. However,
it is our responsibility to provide care. This can be difficult,
but it is important to recognize that:
Our job is not to judge, but to provide
care to all without regard to social status or any other considerations.
By acting in this way, we will be seen to be fair and equitable
by the community we serve.
consent means that the patient and the patient’s
family understand what is to take place, including the
potential risks and complications of both proceeding
and not proceeding, and have given permission for a
course of action.