The informed consent process is an essential component of healthcare, as patients should receive the information they need and have the opportunity to ask questions before making decisions about their medical care. During this process, physicians tell patients about the risks and benefits of treatment, the alternatives to treatment, and the right to refuse treatment.
Patients must have the capacity to take part in the informed consent process. Therefore, before obtaining consent, physicians should assess patient capacity with attention to the four major elements of decision-making. Patients who cannot give consent may have another person provide consent on their behalf.
It is also essential to recognize unique situations such as the consent process for minors, the concept of mature-minor consent and implied consent, a process that allows for treatment in limited situations without informed consent.