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what is informed consent

Informed consent is a process for getting permission before conducting a healthcare intervention on a person. A health care provider may ask a patient to consent to receive therapy before providing it, or a clinical researcher may ask a research participant before enrolling that person into a clinical trial. Informed consent is collected according to guidelines from the fields of medical ethics and research ethics.

An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and consequences of an action. Adequate informed consent is rooted in respecting a person’s dignity. To give informed consent, the individual concerned must have adequate reasoning faculties and be in possession of all relevant facts. Impairments to reasoning and judgment that may prevent informed consent include basic intellectual or emotional immaturity, high levels of stress such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a severe intellectual disability, severe mental disorder, intoxication, severe sleep deprivation, Alzheimer’s disease, or being in a coma.