WA Health system

Giving informed consent in hospital

Informed consent means understanding your treatment options and making the right decision for you.

Before saying yes to treatment, you need to know all about your treatment options, benefits, risks, and alternatives, so that you can make the right decision for yourself.

You can only give your informed consent (your yes) if you understand:

  • your condition
  • what treatments can help you
  • the benefits and risks of the treatment, medication, or operation
  • alternative treatment options (including to take no action).

You also have the right to ask for a second opinion from another doctor or specialist.

The final decision is yours. When you are happy that you understand and agree to what is going to happen, you will also need to sign a consent form (if you are having an operation or a procedure).

5 questions to ask your doctor or health care provider

Choosing Wisely Australia (external site) has developed a set of ‘5 questions to ask your doctor or health care provider' before you get any test, treatment or procedure. Some tests, treatments and procedures can provide little benefit, and in some cases, may even cause harm. Use these five questions to make sure you end up with the right amount of care – not too much and not too little.

For more information about the 5 questions visit Choosing Wisely Australia (external site).

Before your procedure

When you are in hospital, before commencing any medical procedure, your clinical team will confirm:

  • your full name and date of birth
  • any allergies or bad reactions you may have experienced to any medicines
  • the procedure you are having
  • the part of the body where the procedure is being performed (if applicable)
  • that your consent form is complete and correct.

You will be asked these same questions a few times. The healthcare team need to be sure they have everything correct, and that you know what is happening to you.

More information

Download the Going to Hospital booklet.

Video – Informed consent and understanding your risk

Watch more of our videos at the WA Health YouTube channel (external site).

Read the video transcript – Informed consent and understanding your risk.

Last reviewed: 07-02-2022

Patient Safety and Clinical Quality

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.