Barriers and Facilitators to Obtaining Informed Consent in a Critical Care Pediatric Research Ward in Southern Malawi

Barriers and Facilitators to Obtaining Informed Consent in a Critical Care Pediatric Research Ward in Southern Malawi
Lucinda Manda-Taylor, Alice Liomba, Terrie E. Taylor, Kristan Elwell
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 13 March 2019; 14(2) pp 152–168
Abstract
Informed consent is an ethical requirement in clinical research. Obtaining informed consent is challenging in resource-constrained settings. We report results of a formative qualitative study that examined factors that facilitate and hinder informed consent for clinical research among critically ill children in Malawi. We argue that truly informed consent in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) is challenged by parental distress, time constraints when balancing care for critically ill patients with research-related tasks, and social hierarchies and community mistrust toward certain research procedures. We interviewed health care providers and parents of children attending a critical care unit to identify potential challenges and solicit strategies for addressing them. Providers and caregivers suggested practical solutions to enhance research participant understanding of clinical trial research, including the use of visual materials, community engagement strategies, and using patients as advocates in promoting understanding of research procedures.

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