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AORN J. 2008 Jul;88(1):23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2008.03.001.

Using principles of health literacy to enhance the informed consent process.

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  • 1Trinity Regional Health Sytsem, Rock Island, IL, USA.


THE LANGUAGE COMMONLY used in procedural/surgical consent forms often exceeds the average reading level of US patients, and many do not read the document before signing it. INCORPORATING READER-FRIENDLY language and formatting makes it more likely that patients will read the document, understand it, and therefore give informed consent. Adding "teach back" into the document provides a means of evaluating patient understanding. USING READER-FRIENDLY procedural/surgical consent documents merges the objectives of both health literacy and informed consent.

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