Consent for the paediatric patient
Andrew Jones, James Hyde, Sharon Lee, Sondos Albadri, Laura Gartshore
Faculty Dental Journal, 1 April 2023; 14(2)
Obtaining valid consent is a fundamental process in dentistry. Written consent must be obtained where treatment involves conscious sedation or general anaesthesia. For children, consent may be provided by a person with parental responsibility (PR).
A retrospective evaluation was completed of 160 children over 2 UK hospital sites with paediatric services. Cases involving conscious sedation or general anaesthesia for dental treatment were selected. Data were obtained to establish whether it was documented that the correct person had provided consent for a child and whether all possible individuals with PR for the child were identified at the initial visit. UK national legislation and guidance was reviewed, from which a PR form (to determine PR status for a child) was created and implemented. A second evaluation was subsequently completed, again with 160 children.
Combined data from both sites confirmed documentation of an appropriate person providing consent in 127 cases (79%) in the first evaluation. This improved to 155 cases (97%) following implementation of the PR form. All possible individuals who had PR for the child were identified at the initial visit in 35 cases (22%). This improved to 139 cases (87%) following the introduction of the PR form.
Use of a PR form improved documentation regarding valid consent for children.
Editor’s note: This is a publication from the Royals College of Surgeons England.