Consent in the Intensive Care Setting

All competent patients undergoing invasive procedures in the Intensive Care should be informed as to the need, benefits and risks of the proposed procedure and their agreement obtained.  This event should be documented in the patient's case notes.  In the case of a major procedure (as defined below) a standard Christchurch Hospital consent form should be completed.

Where patients are not considered competent to give consent (by virtue of sedation, coma, encephalopathy or delirium) the following applies:

Consent is not required for routine intensive care procedures including:

  • Endotracheal intubation

  • Arterial or venous cannulation

  • Intercostal drain insertion

  • Intra-aortic balloon pump

  • Bronchoscopy (therapeutic / non biopsy)

Major invasive procedures that require consent:

  • Percutaneous tracheostomy

  • Angiography

  • Acute surgical procedures

  • Bronchoscopy where biopsy in indicated

Where consent is indicated, and the patient is not considered competent, the medical team carrying out the procedure must complete the "Decision to treat made by attending medical practitioner" section of the agreement to treatment form, and assume responsibility for the procedure.

Relatives must always be informed of any planned procedures and consent issues must be explained.


Page last reviewed: 13 May 2014