Perspectives

My patient is here for their test, whose responsibility is it for informing the patient of all the risks involved?


Is this activity within a regulated member’s scope of practice?
As a healthcare professional, a regulated member has to ensure that informed consent for the procedure has been obtained.

What is appropriate informed consent?
Informed consent requires a healthcare professional to explain the procedure, all the implications, and recognize that the patient has the right to accept or refuse the procedure you are about to do, and that consent is obtained free from undue influence and/or coercion. Additionally, the member has to assess the patient’s level of understanding of the procedure and adapt their communication accordingly.

The Health Professions Act (HPA) was amended in November 2018 to include Bill 21 – An Act to Protect Patients. Due to this amendment, a new Standard of Practice was published on April 1, 2019. A regulated member is required to obtain informed consent when required to touch a patient for a procedure. This means direct communication with your patient, such as “May I place this pillow under your knees” and waiting for a response from the patient to go ahead.

What Standards of Practice apply to this scenario?
As a regulated member of the College, a regulated member needs to practice in compliance with legislation and other documents such as Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The following standards and statements apply to this scenario.

Standard 1.1 Patient-Centred Care
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:

a. Assess the patient’s level of understanding of the procedure and adapt communication and assessment accordingly
c. Ensure appropriate consent for the procedure has been obtained (e.g., explain procedure and possible implications, recognize the patient’s right to accept or refuse medical services, recognize a legally authorized representative/guardian, as appropriate).

Standard 2.1 Legislation, Standards and Ethics
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:

a. assume personal responsibility for the quality and effectiveness of the regulated member’s practice
b. maintain and apply the knowledge, skills, judgements and behaviours necessary for competent practice

Standard 2.4 Professional Boundaries
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:

c. ensure consent is obtained prior to touching the patient

Standard 5.0 (April 2019) Protection of Patients from Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct
To demonstrate this Standard, a regulated member will:

d. ensure informed consent is obtained when required to touch the patient for diagnostic and/or therapeutic procedures.

ACMDTT Code of Ethics (2015)
Principle 3 – Responsibility to Oneself

b. Accountability – A regulated member takes responsibility and is accountable for his/her professional activities.


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