Do the Patients Read the Informed Consent?

Özhan, Mehmet Özgür; Süzer, Mehmet Anıl; Çomak, İlker; Çaparlar, Ceyda Özhan; Aydın, Gözde Bumin; Eşkin, Mehmet Burak; Atik, Bülent; Ergin, Atilla; Çekmen, Nedim; Kurt, Ercan
June 2014
Balkan Medical Journal;Jun2014, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p132
Academic Journal
Background: Informed consent is a process which consists of informing the patient about the medical interventions planned to be applied to the patient's body and making the patient active in the decision making process. Aims: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether the patients read the informed consent document or not and if not, to determine why they did not read it. This was achieved via a questionnaire administered at the pre-anaesthetic visit to assess the perception of patients to the informed consent process. Study Design: Survey study. Methods: The patients were given a questionnaire after signing the informed consent document at the pre-anaesthetic visit. We studied whether the patients read the informed consent document or not and asked for their reasons if they did not. Results: A total of 522 patients were included during the two month study (mean age: 38.1 years; 63.8% male, 36.2% female). Overall, 54.8% of patients reported that they did not read the informed consent. Among them, 50.3% did not care about it because they thought they would have the operation anyway, 13.4% did not have enough time to read it, 11.9% found it difficult to understand, 5.9% could not read because they had no glasses with them, and 5.2% found it frightening and gave up reading. Inpatients, older patients and patients with co-morbidities were less likely to read the informed consent document than outpatients, and younger and healthy patients (p<0.05). Also, 57.9% of parents whose children would be operated on had read the document. Conclusion: This study shows that the majority of our patients did not understand the importance of the informed consent. It is therefore concluded that informed consent documents should be rearranged to be easily read and should be supported with visual elements such as illustrations or video presentations, as informed consent is a process rather than just simply signing a form.


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