How Do Prescribing Clinicians Obtain Consent to Initiate Gender-Affirming Hormones?

How Do Prescribing Clinicians Obtain Consent to Initiate Gender-Affirming Hormones?
Gaines Blasdel, Avery Everhart, Colt St. Amand, Monica Gaddis, Frances Grimstad
Transgender Health, 21 June 2022
Multiple consent models exist for initiating gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT). Our study aim was to examine the variety of approaches utilized by clinicians.
Online and in-person recruitment of clinicians involved in gender-affirming care was undertaken from June 2019 through March 2020. Participants completed an online survey.
Of the 175 respondents, 148 prescribed GAHT. Sixty-one (41.2%) prescribed to adults only, 11 (7.4%) to minors only, and 76 (51.4%) prescribed to adults and minors. Of those who prescribed to adults, more than half (n=74, 54.4%) utilized a written consent model, one-fourth only verbal consent (n=33, 24.3%), and one-fifth required an additional mental health assessment (MHA) (n=29, 21.3%). Of those prescribing to minors, most required either written consent (n=39, 44.8%) or an additional MHA (n=35, 40.2%). Only 11 (12.6%) utilized only verbal consent for minors. Rationales provided for requiring an additional MHA in adults included protection from litigation, lack of competence in assessing psychosocial readiness for GAHT, and believing that this is the best way to ensure the patient has processed the information. Practicing in multidisciplinary clinics was associated with not requiring an MHA for adult GAHT.
Clinicians across fields are utilizing different models to provide the same treatment, with varying rationales for the same model. As a result, patients receive nonstandard access to care despite similar clinical presentations. Our study highlights an important area for further improvement in GAHT care.

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