INFORMED CONSENT - PART 322 Jul
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A new client arrives … how does the Massage Therapist implement an informed consent process?
In the previous article on INFORMED CONSENT we looked at how informed consent provides an opportunity to evaluate the options available to the client. To read this article click here.
Informed consent requires that clients be informed of exactly what is the treatment process the Massage Therapist is going to undertake. This allows the client to exercise their right as to whether this meets their expectation and their individual needs at that point in time.
Documentation of the informed consent process is important as it validates the intent and confirms that the client’s participation has been voluntary.
In the initial phase of the informed consent process, the Massage Therapist provides a general explanation of massage and the potential benefits. This discussion may be supported by written information that the Massage Therapist has available - this will often be in the form of a brochure or flyer. The brochure/flyer often contains information about indications, benefits, contraindications and alternative approaches that provide benefits similar to those of massage.
As part of the introductory phase of the massage session, the Massage Therapist will inform the client about the scope of practice for massage, with consideration for what massage can and can’t provide. The Massage Therapist´s training, experience and credentials may need to be highlighted as part of this discussion to help determine the level of expectation by the client. Any limiting factors that may affect the professional relationship, including lack of training in a particular area and any special circumstances of the Massage Therapist (e.g., hearing or vision difficulty) may need to be considered.
The client may be provided written information covering these topics, often in the form of a brochure, to support his/her understanding of this discussion.
The next phase involves the Massage Therapist discussing business and professional policies and procedures, including the logical consequences of non-compliance on the part of the client. These policies include handling of payment, late arrival, scheduling, draping, hygiene, sanitation and confidentiality and limits of confidentiality. The Massage Therapist will be a member of a reputable association and thereby have a code of ethics which would be on display for reference. Many Massage Therapists also have their own professional policy statement as part of their business planning. This may be part of their marketing material presented to the client.
After the above procedures have been followed, the client signs an informed consent form. The client should never be overwhelmed with extensive and detailed information on the consent form. Enough information is provided to enable the client to make an informed choice. The Massage Therapist understands that informed consent is a continual process, where client education and participation is always encouraged and supported.
Next week we will conclude the series on INFORMED CONSENT with a look at the important elements that make up a consent form.