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The Ethical and Legal Elements of Capacity and Consent

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Mary Fortune.

Patient autonomy is one of the most important principles in healthcare. As dictated by our contemporary ethico-legal framework, competent adults have the right to make free and informed decisions about their healthcare, and an adult patient can make a particular choice if he has the decision-making capacity to do so.

Navigating these concepts can be extremely complex. Who is an “adult” for these purposes? What do you do when a competent adult refuses life-saving treatment? When can you ethically and legally treat a patient in the absence of informed consent? Where can you find information on your relevant legal obligations? How do you determine whether an adult patient has the capacity to make a particular decision?

By the end of this session, you will know how to answer these and other important questions. We will study the pertinent ethical and legal principles relating to capacity, competence, and consent and discuss how to apply them in your first aid work.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University First Aid Society series.

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