Jurisprudence Handbook

Article Index

Consent for Treatment

Health care professionals must continually communicate with patients, and patients must continue to willingly consent to their care. Without this, there is no informed consent. Informed consent must be ongoing.

Consent should be obtained from clients or substitute decision-makers whenever dietitians are recommending a nutritional therapy (e.g., therapeutic diet, tube feeding, or TPN). While a signed consent form from a client may be desirable, it is not necessary. There must be evidence that a client was given the necessary information and provided consent. Simply recording the fact that consent was obtained after a discussion with a client, and it appeared to the dietitian that the consent was genuine and informed, is often sufficient. A signed consent form and a dietitian's note in a chart documenting consent are legally recognized ways of demonstrating that they obtained consent. Dietitians should also consult organizational policies to determine if there are any facility protocols for documenting consent.

The practitioner’s role is to provide information and make recommendations that will enable clients to make informed decisions. A dietitian must be sensitive to and respect any wishes from a client to withdraw consent. A dietitian must make all the necessary steps to ensure the removal of consent is informed. The client should reasonably understand the foreseeable consequence and risks of withdrawing consent and be informed of alternatives to the proposed treatment.

PHIA addresses consent for collecting, using, and disclosing personal health information in Nova Scotia.


CDO Jurisprudence & Professional Practice Resources – Consent


Standards of Practice