Informed Consent


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Does a general informed consent form signed by an inmate upon arrival cover us?

No. Written consents are still required for invasive procedures including surgeries, invasive diagnostic tests, dental extractions and use of psychotropic medications. In fact, a blanket refusal for treatment would not be in compliance with the I-05 standard either.
— From CorrectCare Volume 23, Issue 3, Summer 2009


Our jail’s previous intake screening form had a line that gave “blanket” consent for medical treatment. Separately, consent would be obtained by the dentist for extractions and by the mental health department for medications. Now, medical has no signed consent, “blanket” or otherwise, since the new screening form has no place for this consent. Don’t we need signed consent for evaluation and treatment, and specific consent for invasive procedures? PPD placement, blood draws (RPR, CBC, etc.), I&D, and even Pap tests could all be considered invasive. I was told that only a refusal needs to be signed, which is like putting the cart before the horse.

Any procedure requiring written consent in the community also requires a signed consent from an inmate in a correctional setting. Generally, written consent is required for any treatment or procedure that is invasive and carries some risk of an adverse outcome. Note, though, that not all health encounters require written consent. If the treatment/procedure is neither risky nor invasive, consent may be implied when the patient shows up for the health encounter. That said, if your facility wants to obtain written consent for every health encounter, it may do so. Standard J-I-05 Informed Consent and Right to Refuse Treatment addresses these issues in more detail.
— From CorrectCare Volume 17, Issue 2, Spring 2003; updated February 2010