How informed are you about informed consent? It’s important for all of us to know the criteria used to determine a person’s ability to make important health care choices, and how that ability can impact their quality of life. This is especially true for individuals receiving hospice care. Learn more here from THE MEDICAL TEAM.

Having the freedom to make our own choices is a vital component of our overall wellbeing. We may take for granted smaller decisions, such as when and what we want to eat, how we want to spend our time, what time to fall asleep and when to wake up; yet they become significant expressions of independence as we grow older.

One decision that impacts us throughout our lifetime is the ability to rationally choose and make known our healthcare preferences. Known legally as “informed consent,” it boils down to being able to understand fully the risks and benefits associated with medical care, and to determine which treatments we want to pursue, and which we will decline.

In hospice care, informed consent is especially important. Honoring end-of-life wishes and decisions allows the patient continued freedom to choose how they want to live. To determine a patient’s ability to provide informed consent, effective communication with the hospice care team is needed to make sure the person understands several key factors related to their condition:

  • The diagnosis and prognosis
  • Which treatment options are being considered
  • The risks, benefits, and predicted outcome of each

It’s important for the care team to regularly gauge a patient’s capacity for informed consent throughout hospice care, as that ability can change over time, but it’s not just the health care team making that determination. Family members and others close to the individual will be instrumental in sharing information, such as any noted changes in the person’s ability to:

  • Comprehend information and choices presented
  • Make decisions and communicate those decisions
  • Express logical reasoning behind those decisions

The bottom line is that individuals who fully understand the benefits and risks of treatment options have the right to decline any treatment.

THE MEDICAL TEAM’s professional in-home hospice care team is always available to answer any questions families may have about the services and treatment plan their loved ones are receiving, or to find out if hospice care might be the best option in their particular situation. Providing exceptional in-home care services throughout New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas, and the metro DC area, we invite you to contact us any time to learn more.