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Posted by Sandra Mary Smith, Mar 19 2012 10:30AM

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informed consent

Hi everyone,
can anyone tell me what is meant by an informed consent form?
with regard to medical conditions that may be contraindicated to massage.
Thanks Sandra :)
Helen Albea
Mar 19 2012 1:13PM
Informed consent means that the client is fully aware of any risks or side effects of the treatment they are going to have, and are giving permission for the therapist to continue. It is basically a disclaimer that your client must sign to say they have made an informed choice to have a treatment, and which would cover you for legal purposes. If they have a medical condition and cannot give you much information about it and have not consulted thier GP, it is unlikely that they can make an 'informed' choice. In this instance it is best to refer them to their GP or a health professional to get more information and permission to see a complementary therapist.

If you have a client who has very good insight into their medical issues, and you feel confident to treat them, then an Informed Consent form would be appropriate. Often a client will say they have permission from their GP to have treament but will not have any written documentation. In this circumstance getting a client to sign a consent form which states that information is very useful.

The form would basically contain a few carefully written sentences along the lines of 'I understand that this is a complementary therapy and not a medical treatment. I am aware of the benefits and possible effects of the treatment and give full consent to receive the therapy.' or 'I have given all details of my medical condition to the best of my knowledge. I wish to receive a therapeutic massage without gaining permission from my GP first,' or 'I have sought advice from my consultant/GP and they are happy for me to go ahead and recieve complementary therapy.' Then both you and the client sign and date it.

You may already have a similar disclaimer on your consultation form anyway. But if you are working with clients who have a 'contraindicated' condition i.e. massage in the 1st trimester, you need to protect yourself as much as possible. And check with your insurance company on their guidelines on how to protect yourself if anything was to go wrong.

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