Informed consent procedures with cognitively impaired patients: A review of ethics and best practices.

Abstract:

AIMS:The objectives of this article are to discuss ethical issues of informed consent in cognitively impaired patients and review considerations for capacity determination. We will also discuss how to evaluate capacity, determine competence, and obtain informed consent when a patient is deemed incompetent. This review emphasizes how to carry out informed consent procedures when capacity is questionable and discusses measures supported for use when determining cognitively impaired patients' ability to consent. METHODS:Information was gathered from medical and psychological codes of ethics, peer-reviewed journals, published guidelines from health-care organizations (e.g., American Medical Association), and scholarly books. Google Scholar and PsycINFO were searched for articles related to 'informed consent' and 'cognitive impairment' published in English between 1975 and 2014. Relevant sources referenced in retrieved publications were subsequently searched and reviewed. RESULTS:We selected 49 sources generated by our search. Sources were included in our review if they presented information related to at least one of our focus areas. These areas included: review of informed consent ethics and procedures, review of cognitive impairment evaluations, recommendations for measuring cognitive capacity, and alternative forms of informed consent. CONCLUSIONS:Patients' cognitive impairments can hinder the ability of patients to understand treatment options. Evaluating the capacity of patients with cognitive impairment to understand treatment options is vital for valid informed consent and should be guided by best practices. Thus, proper identification of patients with questionable capacity, capacity evaluation, and determination of competence, as well as reliance upon appropriate alternative consent procedures, are paramount.

authors

Fields LM,Calvert JD

doi

10.1111/pcn.12289

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2015-08-01 00:00:00

pages

462-71

issue

8

eissn

1323-1316

issn

1440-1819

journal_volume

69

pub_type

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