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assessment, autonomy, capacities, choices, consent, decisions, ethics, rights



  1. Dalinis, Pamela M. MA, RN


Informed consent in healthcare, as currently understood, is grounded in a moral assumption of the professional's duty to respect the autonomous choices of patients and the importance of informed consent in that respect. The purposes of informed consent include providing information necessary for autonomous decisions and facilitating the autonomous decisions of patients. Obtaining informed consent is the ethical duty of the professional. However, informed consent requires that specific conditions or capacities for autonomous decisions must be met by the patient. These capacities often wax and wane as part of the human condition and the medical encounter. Thus, it is important for professionals to assess a particular patient's capacity for autonomous decisions as a requisite of informed consent.