Poor compliance documenting informed consent in trauma patients with distal radius fractures compared to elective total knee arthroplasty

Poor compliance documenting informed consent in trauma patients with distal radius fractures compared to elective total knee arthroplasty
Scott M Bolam, Leigh Munro, Mark Wright
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, 4 May 2022
Open Access
Abstract
Background
The purpose of this study was (1) to evaluate the adequacy of informed consent documentation in the trauma setting for distal radius fracture surgery compared with the elective setting for total knee arthroplasty (TKA) at a large public hospital and (2) to explore the relevant guidelines in New Zealand relating to consent documentation.
Methods
Consecutive adult patients (≥16 years) undergoing operations for distal radius fractures and elective TKA over a 12-month period in a single-centre were retrospectively identified. All medical records were reviewed for the risks and complications recorded. The consent form was analysed using the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES) and the Simple Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) index readability scores.
Results
A total of 133 patients undergoing 134 operations for 135 distal radius fractures and 239 patients undergoing 247 TKA were included. Specific risks of surgery were recorded significantly less frequently for distal radius fractures than TKA (43.3% versus 78.5%, P < 0.001). Significantly fewer risks were recorded in the trauma setting compared to the elective (2.35 ± 2.98 versus 4.95 ± 3.33, P < 0.001). The readability of the consent form was 40.5 using the FRES and 10.9 using the SMOG index, indicating a university undergraduate level of reading.
Conclusions
This study has shown poor compliance in documenting risks of surgery during the informed consent process in an acute trauma setting compared to elective arthroplasty. Institutions must prioritize improving documentation of informed consent for orthopaedic trauma patients to ensure a patient-centred approach to healthcare.

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