Informed choice involves supporting patients* in making choices about their care. It is one of the cornerstones of good health care practice. Professional ethics and legal requirements impact what is important to address.
*Patients also means clients and residents.
The ability to make health care decisions.
What would a reasonable person in this patient’s position want to know?
(Reibl v Hughes,1980, Supreme Court of Canada)
The ability to retain, comprehend, evaluate and apply the information provided for decision-making.
In finding the most effective approach to communication, there are a variety of ways to help the patient to both understand and appreciate their choices about health care. Consider such things as language differences, cultural influences, and literacy levels. Strategies to support understanding and appreciation include:
The patient is able to make decisions freely.
At the end of the decision-making process a patient will either give consent for, or refuse, a particular treatment.