Informed Consent For The Pediatric Population

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Informed consent is the “process by which patients are informed of the possible outcomes, alternatives, and risks of treatments and are required to give their consent freely” (Burkhardt & Nathaniel, 2013, p. 528). Informed consent is a right given to the patient that provides an opportunity for the patient to actively participate in their own healthcare. But when it comes to the pediatric population, children are not guaranteed this right. While children are often allowed to voice their opinions during the informed consent process, this does not assure that the parents and healthcare professionals will take the children’s opinions into consideration. Parents are held accountable to provide the legal informed consent for their children and this can raise ethical and legal issues for nurses when they act as the patient advocates for the children in their care. This begs the question, ‘are children capable of participating in the decision making process of their own informed consent?’ According to the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurse, as stated in Provision 1.4, “Patients have the right to decide what is to be done with and to their own person and part of that right involves the right to have the information and facts necessary to make an intelligent and enlightened decision regarding health care decision making. Patients have the right to assistance in weighing the benefits and risks of treatment or the refusal of treatment without any inflection of the morals, values,
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