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Medical decision-making capacity is the ability of a patient to understand the benefits and risks of, and the alternatives to, a proposed treatment or intervention (including no treatment). Capacity is the basis of informed consent. Patients have medical decision-making capacity if they can demonstrate understanding of the situation, appreciation of the consequences of their decision, and reasoning in their thought process, and if they can communicate their wishes. Capacity is assessed intuitively at every medical encounter and is usually readily apparent. However, a more formal capacity evaluation should be considered if there is reason to question a patient's decision-making abilities. Such reasons include an acute change in mental status, refusal of a clearly beneficial recommended treatment, risk factors for impaired decision making, or readily agreeing to an invasive or risky procedure without adequately considering the risks and benefits. Any physician can evaluate capacity, and a structured approach is best. Several formal assessment tools are available to help with the capacity evaluation. Consultation with a psychiatrist may be helpful in some cases, but the final determination on capacity is made by the treating physician. If a patient is found not to have capacity, a surrogate decision maker should be identified and consulted. If the patient is unable to give consent and identifying a surrogate decision maker will result in a delay that might increase the risk of death or serious harm, physicians can provide emergency care without formal consent.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: American family physician
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Mathematical or statistical procedures used as aids in making a decision. They are frequently used in medical decision-making.
Use of an interactive computer system designed to assist the physician or other health professional in choosing between certain relationships or variables for the purpose of making a diagnostic or therapeutic decision.
Information systems, usually computer-assisted, that enable providers to initiate medical procedures, prescribe medications, etc. These systems support medical decision-making and error-reduction during patient care.
Process of formulating a diagnosis based on medical history and physical or mental examinations, and/or choosing an appropriate intervention.
A scenario in decision analysis in which two individuals motivated entirely by self-preservation at the expense of the other, end up in a worse state than if they had cooperated with each other in the decision-making process.