Central to these issues is the concept of patient autonomy, the patient’s rights to make free and personal decisions about their treatment and general care (Kerridge, Lowe & Stewart, 2009). This discussion paper will explore the ethics behind the requirement for patient autonomy and consider the possibility that exceptions might exist to the necessity to gain consent and maintain confidentiality.
It is generally accepted in health care that there are four elements of informed consent. The first of these involves the disclosure of all relevant information to the patient. Importantly, information needs to be passed both ways between the patient and health care professional/s (Godbold, 2010). The patient needs to be advised on the nature of the issue being dealt with, the expectation of resolution, suggested courses of treatment along with the risks involved and the accuracy of the information being provided (Macdonald & Magill-Cuerden, 2011). The carer must also receive information from the patient, seeking to learn of pertinent issues around the status of the patient’s health. It is also important to gather cultural and emotional information which may affect the validity of any consent provided. The amount of information required or given may be aligned to the
References: Freegard, H. (2006). Ethical Practice for Health Professionals. South Melbourne, Vic. Cengage Learning Australia. Macdonald, S & Magill-Cuerden, J. (2011). Mayes’ Midwifery. (14th ed.). China: Baillere Tindall: An imprint of Elsevier Limited. Godbold, R Alderson, P. (2007). Competent children? Minors’ consent to health care treatment and research. Social Science & Medicine Journal, 65.11, 2272-2283. Retrieved from ScienceDirect. Kerridge, I., Lowe, M & Stewart, C. (2009). Ethics and Law for the Health Professions. Sydney, NSW. Federation Press. Benjamin, M & Curtis, J. (2010) Ethics in Nursing: Cases, Principles, and Reasoning. New York. Oxford University Press. English, V., Mussell, R., Sheather, J., & Sommerville, A. (2008). First Do No Harm : Law, Ethics and Healthcare. (Ed.), McLean, S.A.M. England. Ashgate Publishing. O’Gorman, J. (2007). Psychology as a Profession in Australia. Bowen Hills, Qld. Australian Academic Press. Jonas, M. (2007). Principles of Health Care Ethics (Eds.), Ashcroft, R., Dawson, A., Draper, H., & McMillan, J. (2nd ed.). West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.