Explain what is meant by “consent”, and how it can change according to what decisions may need to be taken

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

Consent is an individual’s agreement to an action being performed. This could be implied, verbal or written:

  • Implied consent is when an individual is cooperating with an action thereby implying that they agree with it, for example if an individual opens their mouth when you are feeding them.
  • Verbal consent is when an individual gives their agreement by talking, for example saying yes when you ask if you can wash their face
  • Written consent is when an individual signs a document to give their agreement, for example signing the updates from a review of their care plan

Consent should always be informed, especially when there is risk involved. This means that an individual should be presented with all the facts and they need to make an educated decision, including the potential risks.

Consent will change depending on what decisions need to be taken. For example, if an individual is receiving daily personal care it would be sufficient to ask if they agree to you performing this task. However if an individual is offered life-changing surgery that has a significant risk to their health then they would need to be consulted and provided with all the information they need to make an informed decision.