ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

Do the Patients Read the Informed Consent?
Mehmet Özgür Özhan 1, Mehmet Anıl Süzer 1, İlker Çomak 2, Ceyda Özhan Çaparlar 3, Gözde Bumin Aydın 3, Mehmet Burak Eşkin 4, Bülent Atik 4, Ercan Kurt 4, Atilla Ergin 5, Nedim Çekmen 6
1Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, TDV 29 Mayıs Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
2Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Diyarbakır Military Hospital, Diyarbakır, Turkey
3Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Ministery of Health, Yıldırım Beyazıt Training Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
4Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Gülhane Military Medical Academy, Ankara, Turkey
5Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Polatlı Can Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
6Department of Anaesthesiology and Reanimation, Güven Hospital, Ankara, Turkey
DOI : 10.5152/balkanmedj.2014.13212
Pages : 132-136

Abstract

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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