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Making Care Decisions

Informed Consent

Depending upon your loved one's diagnosis, there may be a number of different treatment options available. The patient has the right to make informed decisions about his/her medical care. Some patients make these decisions themselves, some share decision making with their families and some choose another to make medical and care decisions. This decision making process is referred to as "Informed Consent." In order to make an informed decision, you need to know:

Specific information about the diagnosis and recommended treatments.
The goals of treatment (for example, cure, symptom relief).
The "hoped for" benefits and the potential risks of various treatments.
What to expect after treatment (e.g. side effects, recovery time).
What to expect if you choose not to have the recommended treatment, including how the illness may progress and the kinds of medical and support care that will be available.
The costs for each treatment option, including what is and is not covered by insurance.
If there are any alternatives to the recommended treatment.

The doctor and other members of the health care team should thoroughly discuss each of these topics with you and the patient and allow you and involved family to ask questions and voice concerns. Often you can take some time to consider the choices offered so that you understand all of the information before agreeing to or refusing treatment.


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