OBJECTIVE: To investigate approaches to consent among a small (n = 150) sample of practicing UK chiropractors.
RESULTS: Of 150 randomly selected chiropractic practitioners in the United Kingdom, 55% responded. Of these, 25% report not informing patients of physical examination procedures prior to commencement. By contrast, only 6% do not fully explain proposed treatment, although over one-third do not advise patients of alternative available treatments. Nearly two-thirds of the practitioners report that there are no specific procedures for which they always obtain written consent and 18% that there are no instances in which they document when verbal consent has been obtained. Ninety-three percent said they always discuss minor risk with their patients but only 23% report always discussing serious risk. When treatment carries a possible risk of a major side-effect only 14% of the sample obtain formal written consent. Documentation of patient understanding is omitted by 75% of practitioners in this sample.
CONCLUSION: Results suggest that valid consent procedures are either poorly understood or selectively implemented by UK chiropractors.
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