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Informed Refusal is as Important as Informed Consent

Informed consent is a topic that's often talked about. The informed consent discussion provides a unique opportunity to build rapport and trust with patients while educating them on the recommended treatment.

Clinicians and their staff may be accused of negligence or battery if the proper informed consent is not obtained from the patient prior to rendering treatment; they could also be sued for not providing information regarding potential complications. The components of informed consent include a discussion about the risks, benefits and alternatives of the proposed treatment. After the discussion, the patient signs a document that confirms the discussion happened and they were given the chance to ask questions and have them questions answered.

However, when it comes to informed refusal, are you providing the patient the same considerations if they choose not to follow the recommended treatment plan? The Healthcare Risk Management Review (HRMR) posted an excellent article, "More than a piece of paper," on July 27, 2015. This article describes a situation where a patient refused to take a prescribed medicine and offers insight into how having a conversation after a refusal or noncompliance may lead to a better understanding of underlying issues.

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