Consent23rd March 2017
In the old days, patients would walk in to my surgery, exchange niceties (or otherwise) and sit down.
I would ask, “Any problems” ? patient may say “l have a lost filling”……….and ask to book another appointment to have the tooth treated. All very simple.
Fast forward 15 years or so……….Now it would be more like;
Good Morning –How are you?
Patient; Fine thanks.
Me; Just here for your check up today?
Patient; No pain but I broke a filling.
Me; so, can I have a look around for you? (asking for consent) by the patient sitting in the chair that is ‘inferred consent’ the patient says yes of course, this makes it verbal consent.
Me; after a thorough examination I can confirm that you have lost a filling. I would normally recommend that we take x-rays of your teeth and complete a scale and polish, would that be ok?
Patient; yes (more consent)
Following this the patient would be offered advice if necessary regarding oral hygiene and diet.
The patient is not advised to have treatment on the spot, they are to be given time “to consider all options”
This appointment would end with a detailed treatment plan being issued which includes ALL of their treatment choices, advice about any complications about the treatments and a choice of being referred to a specialist. This also includes all the pricing.
The patient then has to sign and a copy is kept for our records and one for them to take home.
Finally then I am allowed to treat the tooth (Phew!)
Much of the above is, as mentioned about consent. If I treat a patient without going through this whole procedure it is legally referred to as ‘common assault’.
The paper work is crucial for two reasons.
1) The patient is fully informed of all of the options and choices available to them.
2) They understand and agree therefore valid consent confirmed.
This is now termed ‘patient centred-treatment planning’.
Paperwork is a pain but I believe that in this situation it is important because the very fact completes( signs) that paperwork means they know as much as possible about the proposed treatments in advance……..
Sometimes surprises are nice –but not in the dental chair!
That’s why here at Boundary Dental Care, we always gain consent, we always have treatment plans and information sheets on all of the treatment required. We always discuss it fully with patients allowing them time to consider their choices.