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Patient Educ Couns. 2001 Jun;43(3):301-4.

Impact of risk information in a patient education leaflet.

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Behavioural Sciences Section, Division of Psychiatry, University of Nottingham, UK.


Informed consent requires the communication of information about possible adverse effects of treatment. Health professionals have expressed concern that increased provision of risk information may make patients unduly anxious and change their decisions about treatment. This study compared two patient leaflets about laparoscopy, one containing detailed information about potential side effects. Forty one consenting participants attending an outpatient gynaecology clinic and scheduled for an elective laparoscopic procedure were studied. They were randomly assigned to receive one of two leaflets after their consultation. Knowledge about laparoscopy, satisfaction with information provided, and anxiety were tested 2 days later, between the original consultation and their operation. Results showed that the leaflet containing detailed risk information was associated with greater knowledge about laparoscopy, higher satisfaction with information provision and no increase in anxiety. Provision of detailed information about possible adverse consequences of treatment can improve patients' understanding and satisfaction without inducing increased anxiety.

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