Simplifying consent – Use of the novel integrated consent model in paediatric clinical research

Simplifying consent – Use of the novel integrated consent model in paediatric clinical research
Frances Yeung, Saoirse Cameron, Sepideh Taheri
Paediatrics & Child Health, 29 October 2021; 26(Supplement 1) pp e82–e84
Abstract
Background
Obtaining informed consent from patients to participate in clinical research has traditionally been a cumbersome process, often requiring lengthy documentation and the involvement of trained research staff. Moreover, this process can be a burden to the patient/family. As a result, progress in paediatric research and enabling continual improvement in care has been slow. In the last decade, research ethicists have proposed a new “integrated consent model” (ICM) for obtaining informed consent for pragmatic clinical trials that compare standard-of-care interventions, where there is clinical equipoise. In most cases of ICM, only a brief discussion with verbal consent is required, along with a handout on study purpose, risks, benefits, and procedures. This allows for a more condensed consent process, which maximizes clarity and minimizes information overload. ICM also allows the patient/family to maintain prospective autonomy and decision-making, as compared with deferred or waived consent. The ICM model allows staff in the circle of care to obtain consent, which minimizes the stress of meeting an additional person. To our knowledge, ICM has not yet been used in the paediatric population.
Objectives
The objective of this abstract is to report on the utility of ICM in a non-randomized clinical trial carried out in the inpatient setting of a tertiary children’s hospital.
Design/Methods
We compared two widely accepted standards of care for maintaining peripheral intravenous catheter patency in a cohort of children, namely continuous infusion (“to keep the vein open” or TKVO) versus saline lock (SL). The ICM process was reviewed and approved by REB. Nurses in the circle of care received a study package that included an REB approved “consent script” to be read to the patient/family, a single page information sheet, and instructions on documenting the obtained verbal consent in the patient’s chart (Graphic 1).
Results
With ICM, 79% of participants were recruited into the trial by a nurse. Patient recruitment was completed 4 months ahead of the predicted schedule (Figure 1). Nursing, research, and medical staff were satisfied with ICM and found it easy to administer. ICM occurred smoothly and quickly for patients/families, with no interference with their medical care and practically no disruption to their daily schedule.
Conclusion
ICM is a practical alternative to laborious traditional consent models, is associated with higher patient recruitment rates, and is less burdensome for the patient/family. Paediatricians should be aware of the utility of this novel consent model.

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