Consent Form v. Informed Consent

Posted on Tuesday, December 28th, 2021 at 2:14 pm    

A consent form is an important document in many treatment options. The consent form makes the patient aware of a procedure or treatment to be carried on the patient. The form requires the patient to give permission to the hospital to do the procedure or treatment. As a result, it requires a signature from the patient. Unfortunately, the form may lack the necessary information or clarity about the procedure or treatment needed by the patient. It is not uncommon for a patient to find the form confusing and may need a better explanation. Such forms may lack full details about complications that could arise in and from the treatment or procedure. Some doctors only use what the facility requires and then give verbal explanations of everything else.

Consent Form v. Informed Consent

The doctor performing a procedure usually explains the matter to the patient multiple times. The doctor will go through:

  • the steps of the procedure,
  • what it will do to the patient’s body and
  • how the person will experience life after the procedure or treatment is complete
  • possible complications even in the remote likelihood
  • side effects and
  • dangers that may exist during the treatment

Informed consent requires the patient to understand the information with regards to the treatment or procedure. Only after understanding such information and being agreeable to the procedure or treatment does s/he sign giving permission to proceed. Different states have different laws in this regard, however, some have stronger laws that require more information to be given.

Generally, a consent form is not enough to prove informed consent. This is because, as noted above, it lacks the adequate information required to make an informed decision. The needed information to make an informed decision can only be provided when a professional fully explains the procedure. The doctor may need to detail specific issues that could happen and what percentage of such issues are expected to occur. In addition, the doctor may need to clearly explain the more complex and confusing details. For example, how some side effects may appear in a certain percentage of patients. As such, a consent form requires a more detailed explanation.

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