CONSENT IN ONTARIO
are required to obtain the informed
consent of the patient or
a substitute decision maker before proceeding
In situations involving immediate risk to life and limb and
a valid consent is not possible from the patient or substitute
maker, the physician must act in the best interests of the
and proceed with investigation and treatment as required. Advance
directives or “living wills” (a document stating
how one wishes to be treated in the event of illness) are now
and should be adhered to as well as possible.
OF A VALID CONSENT:
The physician should provide the patient
necessary information in understandable language
to make an informed choice. The principle of autonomy or
self-determination should form the basis of your approach.
patient must be “capable”: The patient must
understand and appreciate the consequences of a decision.
- The physician must disclose the relevant information:
The patient should learn of the nature of the investigation(s)
proposed, their risks and benefits, other important possible
approaches and the likely consequences of refusing investigation
- The patient should understand: The physician should
ensure that the patient has not misinterpreted the information.
- Consent must be voluntary: The individual must not be
manipulated or coerced into choosing a given option.
AGE OF CONSENT
There is no minimum age of consent In Ontario or Canada.
The above principles of a valid consent apply.
The maturity and
understanding of the child and not
the age is considered the important factor. Prudent physicians
will involve parents in decision making, especially for those
less than 16 years of age.
Consent does not necessarily need to be in writing. A written
consent, however, is prudent for important
health care decisions. Consent is all about good communication.