Complexity of Clinical Decision Making: Consent, Capacity, and Ethics

Askren, Annette and Leslie, Paula orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0379-9044 (2019) Complexity of Clinical Decision Making: Consent, Capacity, and Ethics. Seminars in Speech and Language, 40 (03). pp. 162-169. ISSN 0734-0478

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Speech–language pathologists (SLPs), and really their patients, are often faced with challenging clinical decisions to be made. Patients may decline interventions recommended by the SLP and are often inappropriately labeled “noncompliant.” The inappropriateness of this label extends beyond the negative charge; the patient's right to refuse is, in fact, protected by law. Anecdotal exchanges, social media platforms, and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association forums have recently revealed that many SLPs are struggling with the patient's right to decline. Many are not comfortable with the informed consent process and what entails patients' capacity to make their own medical decisions. Here, we discuss the basics of clinical decision-making ethics with intent to minimize the clinician's discomfort with the right to refuse those thickened liquids and eliminate the practice of defensive medicine.

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