Improving Consent Documentation in the Medical Intensive Care Unit

Improving Consent Documentation in the Medical Intensive Care Unit
Original Article
Armin Krvavac, Pujan H. Patel, Ghassan Kamel, Zeyu Hu, Nirav Patel
Curesus, 17 November 2019; 11(11)
Open Access
Abstract
The contemporary patient-centered medical practice relies upon the acquisition of informed consent, which serves as written proof that the patient has recognized and agreed to the risks and benefits of their treatment. Well-documented informed consent forms are not only reflective of important ethical practices in medicine but can also serve as legal documents to protect healthcare providers from undue liabilities. We conducted a quality improvement project with the intention to improve the accuracy and completeness of consent form documentation in the medical intensive care unit.

The evaluation of consent forms before our intervention revealed that only 6.8% were correctly completed, with an average of 10.2 out of 14 (73%) essential items correct. Our intervention involved a multifaceted approach that included targeted education in combination with process improvement. The post-intervention results at one month revealed improvement in consent form accuracy from 6.8% to 60% (p = 0.0001), with an increase in the average number of essential items documented correctly from 10.2 to 13.5 (p = 0.0001). Data were collected three months post-intervention to evaluate for sustained improvement. Results revealed a significant decrease in consent form accuracy to 39% when compared to the one-month post-intervention data but still maintained a statistically significant improvement when compared to initial baseline data; 6.8% to 39% (p = <0.01).

Following the intervention, overall consent form accuracy improved significantly at our institution. Furthermore, these positive adjustments persisted when assessed at three months post-intervention despite the decrease as compared to one-month post-intervention. This trend suggests that our multifaceted intervention was able to increase the quality and accuracy of consent form documentation successfully.

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