The patient has the right to be aware of the people involved in the procedure and their qualifications. The patient should be individually introduced to each person who plays a part in the procedure/treatment.
The most important step of informed consent is that a patient receives an accurate description of the procedure. What to expect and the steps involved in the procedure should be discussed with the patient. This covers what is expected pre-procedure, during, and post-procedure and includes any discomforts.
Proper informed consent also includes a discussion about the potential complications and injury that can occur during and as a result of the procedure. The discussion should also include any harm that can occur due to not performing the procedure or treatment.
Patients have the right to be educated regarding alternative therapies. The alternative treatments can be less invasive, less effective, and not as strongly recommended; however, it is critical for a patient to have complete knowledge and informed consent.
A patient has the right to refuse at any point. Although conversations regarding the importance of the treatment can be reiterated, the patient ultimately has the final say. The patient even has the right to refuse while the treatment/procedure is being performed.
Nurses can witness consent. They can sign as a witness that the patient appears to give consent voluntarily, is capable of providing consent, and the patient signed in the nurse's presence. Nurses do not obtain consent for procedures that are performed by others.
Nursing students can not be a witness to consent due to the legal importance of the document.
In situations where the person cannot consent, consent should be obtained on the patients' behalf by a legally authorized person. A legally authorized person means a parent of a minor, a court-appointed guardian, or a person authorized by the patient by law to act on the patient’s behalf.
If it is impossible to receive consent from the patient or a legally authorized person, a health care provider can conduct a life saving procedure without liability. In these cases, it is assumed that the patient would wish to be treated.
Individuals who are deaf, illiterate, or speak a foreign language require unique circumstances for consent. Family members or friends who speak a patient's language should not translate health information. A patient who is deaf will need a professional sign language interpreter, an illiterate individual may need a thorough verbal breakdown of the consent/procedure/expected outcomes, and someone who speaks a foreign language should be given an interpreter.
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