Informed consent

Informed consent is when you understand the options available to your child and can make a decision about having a test, treatment or procedure.

Before agreeing to a test, treatment (including medication) or procedure, you need to know all about:

1. Your child’s condition

The doctor or clinician should give you clear information about your child’s condition in a way that you can understand.

2. The different options available (including taking no action)

You can ask the doctor or clinician:

  • “Are there alternative options that could work?” or “Are there simpler, more safe options?”
  • “What happens if we decide against the option?”
  • “Could their condition get worse if you decide against having the test, treatment or procedure straight away?”

3. The benefits and risks

You can ask the doctor or clinician:

  • “What benefits will we see?”
  • “What are the risks or potential complications?”
  • “Will there be side effects to the test/treatment or procedure?”
  • “What are the chances of getting results that aren’t accurate? Could that lead to more testing, additional treatments or another procedure?”

4. The expected outcome

The doctor or clinician should give you a clear explanation of why your child is having the test, treatment or procedure.

5. The potential costs for your family

Costs can be financial, emotional or a cost of your time. If there is a financial cost, you may ask if the cost is reasonable or if there is a cheaper alternative.

Adapted from Choosing Wisely Australia: 5 questions to ask your doctor or other healthcare provider before you get any test, treatment, or procedure.

Remember, you can ask for a second opinion!

Signing your consent

When you are happy that you understand and agree to what is going to happen, you will also need to sign a consent form if your child is having an operation or a procedure.

Last Updated: 04/08/2022