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Consent and capacity in health careCConsent and capacity in health careConsent and capacity in health careEnglishAdolescentTeen (13-18 years)NANAHealthy living and preventionTeen (13-18 years)NA2021-11-10T05:00:00Z10.100000000000055.10000000000001071.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Discover the difference between consent and capacity, and how to demonstrate that you are capable of making your own health-care decisions.</p><div class="callout2"><h2>We want to hear from you!</h2><p>AboutKidsHealth is trying to improve the information and education we provide young people (aged 12-18) and families through our website. After reading this article, please take 5 minutes to complete our Adolsecent Health Learning Hub survey.</p> <button> <a class="redcap-survey" href="https://surveys.sickkids.ca/surveys/?s=XHD3EK3XD4">click here</a></button> </div><h2>Making your own decisions</h2><p> <em>Consent</em> and <em>capacity</em> are two concepts that relate to your ability to make decisions. When you are young, your parents or caregivers make most of the decisions for you. In general, as you get older, you are able to make more decisions by yourself, without help from your parents or family. You can always ask your parents/caregivers for help or advice on making health-care decisions, regardless of your age. Some of the most important decisions that you make can involve giving permission to other people.</p><p>There are specific rules around two of the most important types of decisions that can be made: decisions related to health and decisions related to being sexually active.</p><h2>Key points</h2><ul><li>Consent means giving permission to someone to do something for you on your behalf.</li><li>Capacity is your ability to make decisions for yourself.</li><li>To be able to make your own decisions about your health, you have to be able to show your health-care provider that you are capable to make those decisions.</li><li>You are considered capable if you can demonstrate that you understand the information about the decision you are going to make and can appreciate the consequences of that decision.</li><li>If you are not deemed capable of making health-care decisions, a substitute decision maker will make decisions on your behalf.</li></ul><h2>Resources</h2><p>Relevant laws for Ontario can be found at <a href="http://www.ontario.ca/">www.ontario.ca</a>:</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/96h02">Health Care Consent Act (1996)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90m07">Mental Health Act (1990)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/04p03">Personal Health Information Protection Act (2004)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/92s30">Substitute Decisions Act (1992)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08">Highway Traffic Act (1990)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/17c14">Child, Youth, Family Services Act (2017)</a></li></ul>

 

 

 

 

Consent and capacity in health care3993.00000000000Consent and capacity in health careConsent and capacity in health careCEnglishAdolescentTeen (13-18 years)NANAHealthy living and preventionTeen (13-18 years)NA2021-11-10T05:00:00Z10.100000000000055.10000000000001071.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>Discover the difference between consent and capacity, and how to demonstrate that you are capable of making your own health-care decisions.</p><div class="callout2"><h2>We want to hear from you!</h2><p>AboutKidsHealth is trying to improve the information and education we provide young people (aged 12-18) and families through our website. After reading this article, please take 5 minutes to complete our Adolsecent Health Learning Hub survey.</p> <button> <a class="redcap-survey" href="https://surveys.sickkids.ca/surveys/?s=XHD3EK3XD4">click here</a></button> </div><h2>Making your own decisions</h2><p> <em>Consent</em> and <em>capacity</em> are two concepts that relate to your ability to make decisions. When you are young, your parents or caregivers make most of the decisions for you. In general, as you get older, you are able to make more decisions by yourself, without help from your parents or family. You can always ask your parents/caregivers for help or advice on making health-care decisions, regardless of your age. Some of the most important decisions that you make can involve giving permission to other people.</p><p>There are specific rules around two of the most important types of decisions that can be made: decisions related to health and decisions related to being sexually active.</p><h2>Key points</h2><ul><li>Consent means giving permission to someone to do something for you on your behalf.</li><li>Capacity is your ability to make decisions for yourself.</li><li>To be able to make your own decisions about your health, you have to be able to show your health-care provider that you are capable to make those decisions.</li><li>You are considered capable if you can demonstrate that you understand the information about the decision you are going to make and can appreciate the consequences of that decision.</li><li>If you are not deemed capable of making health-care decisions, a substitute decision maker will make decisions on your behalf.</li></ul><h2>What are consent and capacity?</h2><p> <strong>Consent</strong> means giving permission to someone to do something for you. You give consent for different things every day. For example, if you make a new friend and decide to share your phone number, you are giving them consent or permission to contact you. Another example is when you install a new app on your phone; it may ask you for your consent or permission to know your location.</p><p> <strong>Capacity</strong> relates to your ability to make decisions. When you are a baby, you do not have very much capacity, that is, you cannot make many decisions for yourself. As you get older and become more mature, you have the capacity to make more and more decisions for yourself. Your capacity to make some decisions is often related to your age. For example, you have to be 18 years old in order to vote in an election. However, your capacity is also determined by how much you understand. For example, you have to be 16 years old in Ontario before you are able to write your driver’s test, but you cannot obtain your full licence until you have passed two driving tests.</p><h2>Making decisions about your health</h2><p>The decisions you make about your health and health care are very important. They are so important that they are governed by a set of laws. To be able to make your own decisions about your health, you have to show your health-care provider (doctor, nurse, physiotherapist, etc.) that you are <em>capable</em> to make those decisions. In health care, <em>capacity</em> has a special definition with two parts:</p><ol><li> <em>Understanding:</em> you have to show that you understand the information about the decision you are going to make.</li><li> <em>Appreciation:</em> you have to show that you appreciate what the decision and the consequences of the decision mean to you as a person.</li></ol><p>Let’s use an example of having an ear infection caused by bacteria. Your doctor may recommend that you take antibiotics to treat the infection. To show that you are <em>capable</em> of making the decision to take antibiotics to treat the infection, you have to show the doctor that you <em>understand</em> that ear infections may not go away on their own; ear infections can be cured with antibiotics; if the ear infection is not treated, it may cause hearing loss; and the treatment the doctor recommends, antibiotics, may have side effects. You also have to show the doctor that you <em>appreciate</em> what this decision means for you and your life. If you choose to take the antibiotics, you <em>appreciate</em> that you want the infection to be cured so you do not lose your hearing. You also <em>appreciate</em> that, while you may not like the side effects of antibiotics, it is still better for you to take the medicine to get rid of the infection than to refuse treatment.</p><p>In the province of Ontario, unlike driving and voting, there is no minimum age to consent to medical treatment. Every person, regardless of their age, is assumed to be <em>capable</em> to make decisions about their health unless a health-care provider determines they are not capable. <em>Capacity</em> is not a “blanket concept,” meaning just because you are capable of making one decision, does not mean you are capable of making every decision. When you are younger, you may be capable of making some small-scale decisions, but you may still need help from your parents/caregivers to make more important decisions.</p><h2>What happens if I am not capable of making a decision about my health?</h2><p>Sometimes, it is obvious when a person is not capable of making a decision about their health. For example, it is obvious that babies cannot make their own decisions about their health. Another example is if you are in an accident and unconscious; it is clear you cannot make decisions when you are unconscious. In those situations, a substitute decision maker will make decisions on your behalf. For children and teens, their parents/caregivers are most often their <em>substitute decision makers</em>. Substitute decision makers are required, by law, to make the best decision for you, which means they must make the decision that is in your <em>best interests</em>.</p><p>There are other situations where it is not so clear if a person is capable of making their own health decisions. This might be because the person is suffering from a physical or mental illness, or they are a young teen who is still maturing. For very important decisions, health-care providers may do a <em>capacity assessment</em> to ensure you are capable of making the health-care decision. The capacity assessment must be performed by the health-care provider who is suggesting the treatment, such as your doctor, nurse, or therapist.</p><h2>Resources</h2><p>Relevant laws for Ontario can be found at <a href="http://www.ontario.ca/">www.ontario.ca</a>:</p><ul><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/96h02">Health Care Consent Act (1996)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90m07">Mental Health Act (1990)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/04p03">Personal Health Information Protection Act (2004)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/92s30">Substitute Decisions Act (1992)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08">Highway Traffic Act (1990)</a></li><li><a href="https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/17c14">Child, Youth, Family Services Act (2017)</a></li></ul>https://assets.aboutkidshealth.ca/AKHAssets/Consent_and_capacity_in_health_care.jpg