Thank you for your thoughts on informed consent. It is a critical role for the nurse to ensure that the patient is well informed. One of the challenges is the nurse is put into a position to fill in the gaps of the “informed” aspect of care. What do you see as the role of the nurse and the interventions that might be necessary?
Informed consent is the process in which a health care provider educates a patient about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a given procedure or intervention. The patient must be competent to make a voluntary decision about whether to undergo the procedure or intervention. Informed consent is both an ethical and legal obligation of medical practitioners in the US and originates from the patient’s right to direct what happens to their body. Implicit in providing informed consent is an assessment of the patient’s understanding, rendering an actual recommendation, and documentation of the process. The Joint Commission requires documentation of all the elements of informed consent “in a form, progress notes or elsewhere in the record.” The following are the required elements for documentation of the informed consent discussion: (1) the nature of the procedure, (2) the risks and benefits and the procedure, (3) reasonable alternatives, (4) risks and benefits of alternatives, and (5) assessment of the patient’s understanding of elements 1 through 4.
It is the obligation of the provider to make it clear that the patient is participating in the decision-making process and avoid making the patient feel forced to agree to the provider. The provider must make a recommendation and provide their reasoning for said recommendation. If doctors or the medical not fully inform their patients about the risks involved prior the procedure or treatment. In both medical and legal terminology. If these elements are not adhered and injuries happen the patient or the client have grounds to file lawsuits against the doctor.