The Health & Human Services (HHS) regulations dictates that a legally informed consent must be obtained from individuals before they become involved in research, this regulation is at 45CFR part 46 (HHS.gov, nod.). The concept of informed consent is based on three ethical principles as described in the Belmont Report, which oversee human subjects that are in research projects (HHS.gov, nod.). The three basic principles in the Belmont Report are respect for persons, beneficence and justice (HHS.gov, 1979).Informed consent is given by the patient indicating that they understand the information about the treatment or procedure and that they have been instructed of the risks, benefits and alternatives of their care ( Teitelbaum & Wilensky, 2013). Also, the patient has the right to refuse treatment regardless of how minimal or severe the condition is. Informed consent can be based on four components; competency, disclosure, understanding and voluntary. The patient must be deemed competent to understand the facts that are being presented; a person can also give consent as a legal guardian of a minor or an incompetent person. Full disclosure must be provided by the health care provider; information of the treatment, relevant risks, benefits and alternatives. The patient must be able to understand the information given, therefore technical jargon should not be used, information should be given in non-technical language and an interpreter must be provided if their primary language is not English. A patient should not be coerced into giving consent; it must be given voluntarily with the notion that if they do not proceed with the recommended treatment or procedure there will be no repercussion from the health care provider. An unconscious adult requiring emergency treatment is a scenario where informed consent is not required, due to the nature of the emergent situation, attempting to obtain consent from a relative would only delay medical intervention which can be detrimental particularly in a life or death situation.
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