- 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?
- To learn more about informed consent
What questions should I ask during informed consent?
You will, of course, have your own questions, especially once the doctor starts sharing information. But some basic questions you might ask include:
- What is my diagnosis (the medical name for the illness I have) and what does it mean?
- How serious is my diagnosis?
- What treatments are recommended?
- Are there other treatment options? What are they?
- What benefits can I expect from the recommended treatments and the other options?
- What are the risks or complications of the recommended treatment and the other treatment options?
- Are there problems or side effects that may be caused by the treatments?
- What will be done to help prevent or relieve these problems or side effects?
- What are the side effects of the treatment – immediate, temporary, and long-lasting?
- How will having treatment affect my normal functions and everyday activities?
- How would not having treatment affect my normal functions and everyday activities?
- How long will treatment last?
- How long will it be before I can go back to my normal activities?
- How much does the treatment cost?
- Will my insurance cover it? How much will I have to pay?
It’s a good idea to write down your questions and bring the list to your appointments, take notes on the answers, or bring a device to record the discussion. (Check with the doctor before you record your talks.) Good health providers usually appreciate a patient’s efforts to understand the challenges they face and to make informed decisions.
Last Medical Review: 07/14/2014
Last Revised: 07/28/2014