Across the fields of healthcare and counselling, the adherence to ethical and legal standards allows for consistency in care quality and patient safety assurance. Informed consent is the process of a professional’s explanation of the information about provided care, its expected benefits, and potential risks to the client with an intention to obtain their agreement (Strini et al., 2021). In counseling, signing an informed consent form is both a legal and ethical confirmation of the client’s awareness of and permission to the procedures.
The legal aspect of informed consent is implied in establishing the agreement between the client and care provider related to the services. On the one hand, a signed informed consent form is legal proof protecting the professional in case of some issues leading to litigation. On the other hand, it is the provision of the patient’s right “to know their state of health, the diagnosis, and treatments available, the risks and probable benefits,” and choose alternatives (Strini et al., 2021, p. 472). As for the ethical considerations, through informed consent, a counsellor ensures that the principles of justice and autonomy are preserved for the client. Indeed, from the ethical perspective, informed consent is viewed as a “process of mutually shared responsibility” by the client and counsellor (Strini et al., 2021, p. 472). It is used to guarantee that the client comprehends the information and can use it for reasonable decision-making as informed by the professional.
In summation, the concept of informed consent is an essential legal and ethical mandate in counseling. Successfully delivering care is only possible upon a client’s informed decision-making. From the ethical and legal perspectives, informed consent serves as a standardization and transparency tool for shared responsibility between clients and counselors. Thus, it is imperative to establish effective communication with patients to ensure that informed consent is achieved through comprehensive and beneficial interaction.
Strini, V., Schiavolin, R., & Prendin, A. (2021). The role of the nurse in informed consent to treatments: An observational-descriptive study in the Padua Hospital. Clinics and Practice, 11(3), 472-483.