- Meeting abstract
- Open Access
Informed consent: results of a study in a geriatric surgery division
BMC Geriatrics volume 10, Article number: A36 (2010)
Informed consent is a process during which the physician informs the patient of his diagnostic and treatment options; informing the patient about the risks of the procedure as well the benefits, can help him/her to make a rational decision regarding his health. A paternalistic relation between the physician and the patient is antithetical to the concept of informed consent . In elderly patients’ impaired decisional capacity, observed in relation to the presence of neurological pathologies like Alzheimer disease and associated disorder , can influence the collection of a valid informed decision.
The capacity in elderly patients of a surgery geriatric division was evaluated to discuss the possible implications from an ethical and legal point of view of a correct collection of an informed consent
Patients and methods
The study is conducted on 100 patients aged over 70 years, hospitalized in a geriatric surgery division during the period September - November 2009. The methodological approach is based on the following steps: 1. analysis of medical documentation; 2. anamnesis; 3. collection of data concerning education, previous informed consent, knowledge of diagnostic and treatment options; 4. clinical-behavioral examination by means of administration of Mini-mental state examination (MMSE) and clock drawing test. The collected data are recorded in a database.
Preliminary results in some cases highlight impaired cognitive functions that could influence the expression of a valid informed consent.
Informed consent is relevant from an ethical and legal point of view. The analysis of the data highlights the importance of the physician – patient relationship in the collection of the informed consent. In some cases the physician should be aware of the possibility of identifying the patient’s characteristics associated with impaired capacity; in such cases formal capacity evaluations and/or enhanced consent procedures may be most appropriate.
Humayun A, Fatima N, Naqqash S, Hussain S, Rasheed A, Imtiaz H, Imam SZ: Patients' perception and actual practice of informed consent, privacy and confidentiality in general medical outpatient departments of two tertiary care hospitals of Lahore. BMC Medical Ethics. 2008, 9: 14-10.1186/1472-6939-9-14.
Karlawish JH, Casarett DJ, James BD: Alzheimer's disease patients' and caregivers' capacity, competency, and reasons to enroll in an early-phase Alzheimer's disease clinical trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2002, 50: 2019-2024. 10.1046/j.1532-5415.2002.50615.x.
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Terranova, C., Bruttocao, A. & Nistri, R. Informed consent: results of a study in a geriatric surgery division. BMC Geriatr 10, A36 (2010) doi:10.1186/1471-2318-10-S1-A36
- Alzheimer Disease
- Capacity Evaluation
- Consent Procedure
- Decisional Capacity
- Drawing Test