What is Informed Consent for Patients?

informed consentThe People’s Pharmacy, Terry Graedon, (01.04.2024) published “How Informed Are Patients Who Sign Consent Forms?” In this article, the author investigates how consent forms work, or fail, to inform patients of the risks of  particular procedures/treatments. 

The author found that according to a JAMA Internal Medicine (12.11.2023) analysis of more than 100 hospital procedure consent forms, the majority were composed of complex language that might prove difficult for general patient understanding. Among the consent forms, there was also great variation in the risks, as well as the potential for success, discussed for different procedures/treatments. It was also found that consent forms at hospitals serving vulnerable populations showed less mention of the risks associated with doing without the procedure/treatment, and were also less likely to present patients the opportunity to decline the procedures/treatments.

The author points out that although consent forms are intended to be part of shared decision making process, too often the consent forms are  presented to the patients immediately before the planned procedure/treatment, which further inhibits understanding or time for questions because the patient may be anxious or preoccupied in thought preceding a procedure/treatment.

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Read The People’s Pharmacy Article

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