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Informed consent

1-minute read

Informed consent in healthcare means you will be given understandable and clear information about your choices so you can make the right decisions about your health and healthcare.

Consent is your agreement for a healthcare professional to provide you with treatment and care, including any tests, medicines, treatments or procedures you agree to.

Before you give your consent, make sure:

  • your doctor or healthcare professional has explained each of the options available to you
  • that any risks, and the likelihood of those risks, are explained
  • you understand the benefits
  • you understand the purpose of the action you are consenting to

If you are not sure at any stage, be sure to ask your doctor.

Informed consent is different for different people. To provide informed consent you may need:

  • an interpreter if English is not your first language and you find it hard to communicate with the doctor or healthcare professional
  • a friend, family member, or support person to discuss options with prior to giving consent
  • to consider any associated costs, changes to lifestyle, or recovery time required

Read this guide to help you decide what questions to ask your doctor, or follow the links below to find trusted information about informed consent.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: August 2020

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Informed Consent - For Consumers | Queensland Health

Consumer links related to informed consent.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Informed Consent in Healthcare: An Issues Paper | Consumers Health Forum

The purpose of this paper is to explore issues relating to consumers and informed consent in healthcare.

Read more on Consumers Health Forum of Australia website

Informed consent for carers - Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Why do I even need this test? A Diagnostic Imaging and Informed Consent Consumer Resource

This information is for people who want to find out more about why they have been asked to have a diagnostic test and what it could involve – so that they can make an informed choice about it.

Read more on Consumers Health Forum of Australia website

My Healthcare Rights - A guide for people with cognitive impairment | Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

This resource describes what to expect when going to hospital, information about informed consent and what to do if something doesn't go to plan. The Easy English version of this guide is available here

Read more on Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website

Patient information & resources | RACS

Listed below are information and resources for patients undergoing surgery.

Read more on RACS – Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website

Consent for treatment - NSW Health Care Complaints Commission

fact sheet on consent for treatment

Read more on NSW Health Care Complaints Commission website

What will I have to pay for treatment? | Cancer Council

Find information about out-of-pocket costs and informed financial consent for people with cancer and for those caring for someone with cancer

Read more on Cancer Council Australia website

Adoption of your child - NT.GOV.AU

What happens if you decide to adopt your child, including information on consent, finalising the adoption and your rights after adoption.

Read more on NT Health website

Your decision-maker: persons identified in state and territory legislation | Dementia Australia

The terms used for your decision-maker varies across Australian states and territories Common terms include:  Person Responsible Statutory Health Authority Treatment Hierarchy. These definitions will typically involve categories of people (e.g. guardian, spouse, informal carer or parent) that a doctor must approach to get consent for any proposed treatment if you cannot give your own consent. Information about the specific definitions for each state and territory can be found here.

Read more on Dementia Australia website

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