Informed Consent (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Decision-making capacity is often referred to by the legal term competency. It is one of the most important components of informed consent. Decision-making capacity is not black and white. You may have the capacity to make some decisions, but not others.
The components of decision-making capacity are as follows:
If you are not able to do all of the components, family members, court-appointed guardians, or others (as determined by state law) may act as "surrogate decision-makers" and make decisions for you.
To have decision-making capacity does not mean that you, as the patient, will always make "good" decisions, or decisions that your doctor agrees with. Likewise, making a "bad" decision does not mean that you, as patient, are "incompetent" or do not have decision-making capacity.
Decision-making capacity, or competency, simply means that you can understand and explain the options, their implications, and give a rational reason why you would decide on a particular option instead of the others.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/23/2014
Richard A Wagner, MD, PhD
James E Keany, MD, FACEP
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor III, MD
Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape
Advances in surgical and anesthetic techniques combined with sophisticated perioperative monitoring are factors that have contributed to an expanding number of older adults undergoing surgery.