Informed Consent in Aging Services

October 7, 2022 | Aging Services Risk Management


Informed consent is a legal and ethical concept rooted in supporting an individual's right to autonomy, their healthcare goals, and their decisions made to achieve those goals. Federal and state regulations and accreditation standards require healthcare providers to facilitate, obtain, and document informed consent discussions in order to support patient safety and person-centered care best practices. A comprehensive informed consent process can actualize both concept and practice through shared decision making, which creates a partnership between patients and providers that accomplishes the ultimate goal of safe, effective healthcare delivery.

For aging services caresettings in particular, shared decision making becomes standard practice for protecting patient rights while safeguarding their care preferences, especially during advance care planning and at end-of-life. Considerations of mental capacity and quality of life are paramount as individuals' health status changes over time, and providers must be ready to navigate such conversations when patients consent to long-term care and if or when surrogate decision makers come into play.

Informed consent is a process of communication between a patient and provider that culminates in the authorization or refusal of a healthcare intervention (AMA). The informed consent process—as established and guided by professional codes of ethics, statutes, regulations, accreditation standards, and case law—involves multiple elements:

The key to these elements is clear communication. Clinicians must provide essential and comprehensive information related to proposed treatments, procedures, or health services, and do so in an understandable manner that accounts for the patient's cultural, linguistic, and literacy needs.

Topics discussed include, but are not limited to:

​A member asked us for information related to pain management consent forms. [See...

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