Informed consent for neonatal trials: practical points to consider and a check list

Informed consent for neonatal trials: practical points to consider and a check list
Beate Aurich, Eric Vermeulen, Valéry Elie, Mariette H E Driessens, Christine Kubiak, Donato Bonifazi, Evelyne Jacqz-Aigrain
BMJ Pediatrics, 29 November 2020
Open Access
Abstract
Obtaining informed consent from parents of critically ill neonates can be challenging. The parental decision making process is influenced by the severity of the child’s condition, the benefit–risk balance, their emotional state and the quality of the relationship with the clinical team. Independent of local legislation, parents may prefer that consent is sought from both. Misconceptions about the absence of risks or unrealistic expectations about benefits should be openly addressed to avoid misunderstandings which may harm the relationship with the clinical team. Continuous consent can be sought where it is unclear whether the free choice of parental consent has been compromised. Obtaining informed consent is a dynamic process building on trusting relationships. It should include open and honest discussions about benefits and risks. Investigators may benefit from training in effective communication. Finally, involving parents in neonatal research including the development of the informed consent form and the process of obtaining consent should be considered standard practice.

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