What is Informed Consent?
As a patient or consumer, you have the right to decide what happens to your own body. If you are able to understand fully what medical or healthcare treatment is being recommended for you, you have the right to decide to have, or not have that healthcare treatment.
Consent is an agreement between you and your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will ask you to give your consent before you have any test, treatment or procedure they are recommending for you. The only exception is in an emergency or situation to save your life.
Informed consent means that you make your decision after your health care provider has explained the benefits and risks of the recommended test, treatment or procedure, and any options that are available to you. It is important that this information is explained to you in a way you can understand, and that you have the opportunity to ask questions or check that you have understood the information correctly.
Read or download the ISLHD Informed Consent brochure.
Shared decision making is when you work together with your healthcare provider to discuss and make decisions about your own treatment and care. You can also choose to involve a family member, carer or close friend to join the conversation. A support person can help you to make your decision and remember information.
It is important that you freely give your consent. This means that your doctor or other healthcare provider, or your family, carer or friend should not pressure or force you to make a healthcare decision.
If you speak a language other than English, or you are Deaf, you can ask your healthcare provider to arrange an interpreter. This is a free and confidential service.
Some people will have a substitute decision maker. You have a right to have a substitute decision-maker make medical decisions for you if you’re not able to make these decisions yourself.
If you are a substitute decision maker – for example a Guardian, the healthcare provider must involve you in discussions and decisions about the care of the person you can make decisions for.
Information about healthcare tests, treatments and procedures can be complicated. You can ask questions at any time, and ask for information to be repeated or written down. It is a good idea to think about the questions to ask your healthcare provider before your appointment.
It can be helpful to have written information about a test, treatment or procedure that is being recommended for you. Written information – such as in pamphlets or the information on-line at trusted websites, can help you to remember information and explain it to your family and friends. Ask your healthcare provider if there is any written information available in your language that you can take home, or about any trusted websites that you can use.
Choosing Wisely Australia has developed ‘5 Questions to ask your doctor or health care provider before you get any test, treatment or procedure’. The questions are:
- Do I really need this test, treatment or procedure?
- What are the risks?
- Are there simpler, safer options?
- What happens if I don't do anything?
- What are the costs?
You can read more about the 5 Questions on the Choosing Wisely website, or view them in a number of different languages.