Patients and their families are key partners in their health care. When you go for medical care, you usually get recommendations about needed treatment. Most people follow these recommendations, but you don’t have to. If you are an adult and you’re able to make your own decisions, you are the only person who can choose whether to get treatment and which treatment to get. This is done through a process called informed consent.
All medical care requires the consent of the patient (or someone who is authorized to consent for the patient) before care is given. In some cases, you approve or agree with the doctor’s plan by simply getting a prescription filled, allowing blood to be drawn for lab tests, or seeing a specialist. This is called simple consent, and is OK for treatments that carry little risk for you. Many times, though, the more careful process of informed consent is needed.
- Informed Consent
- What is informed consent and what does it mean?
- Why does the doctor need me to sign a consent form?
- What are the legal requirements of informed consent?
- Who besides the patient is allowed to consent?
- Are there times when the usual consent requirements do not apply?
- How will I be given information for informed consent?
- What questions should I ask during informed consent?
- Can I change my mind after I’ve signed the consent?
- What if I don’t want the treatment that’s being offered?
- How is informed consent for a clinical trial or research study different from consent for standard treatment?
- How is shared decision-making different from informed consent?
- What if I want my doctor to make the decisions about my care, and I don’t want more information?
- How can I find out more?