- “Informed Consent” is defined as a legal agreement between the patient and health provider to perform procedures like Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy or any specialized interventions etc.
- Health Care provider Informs (explains) the patient about the procedure and its benefits, risks and outcome etc.
- Informed Consent is a part of health care provider and patient relationship hence it is the responsibility of the health care provider to obtain the consent.
- The Nurse provides the consent form to obtain sign from the patient. Before obtaining signatures, the nurse confirms that the patient has understood procedure for which they are giving consent. If Nurse suspect the patient has doubts and not understood about the procedure, she has to notify the health care provider or nursing supervisor according to the employing institution policy.
- In some instances, the nurses are obliged to witness the consent which means the patient has voluntarily given the consent and signature is authentic.
- When a client is refusing surgery, the health care provider must inform the patient about the harmful consequences. If the client is still refusing, the rejection needs to be written and signed and witnessed.
- Performing an invasive or any major procedure will result in “Battery” which attracts legal liability.
Obtaining Informed consent from a foreign clients, deaf, Illiterate
- An official interpreter should be arranged in these cases to explain health information. Neither the family members nor persons who know client’s language are permitted to explain the health information for obtaining consent.
- Each State and Institution has its own regulations for this situation. So, the Nurse must be well aware of regulations.
Obtaining informed consent from Pediatric Age Group
- Parents are the legal guardians for Children. Hence Informed consent is obtained from them.
- If parents are divorced, the legal guardian of the child can sign the consent.
- In some occasions the parent or legal guardian may refuse the treatment for the child. In those cases, the court sometimes intervenes on the child’s behalf.
Obtaining informed from an unconscious patients
- For unconscious patient, consent should be obtained from a person legally authorized to give consent on the client’s behalf.
- Some patients have legally designated other surrogate decision makers with this authority through power of attorney documents or through court guardianship procedures. Hence consent should be obtained from them.
- In emergencies, if it is impossible to obtain consent from patient or from legally authorized persons, the health care provider may perform the procedure required to save the life of the patient. In such cases the law assumes that the patient would wish to be treated.
Obtaining informed consent from a psychiatric patient
- Psychiatric Patient also must give consent.
- They also have the right to refuse treatment until a court determines they are incompetent to decide for themselves.