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Convuls Ther. 1986;2(1):25-29.

Informing Patients About Electroconvulsive Therapy: Effects of a Videotape Presentation.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA School of Medicine, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, Los Angeles, California, USA.


Issues of information given for consent purposes are particularly problematic with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The authors investigated the efficacy of an informative videotape recording in this process. The videotape contained factual information about ECT, an interview with a patient before and after treatment, and the presentation of an actual treatment. A patient group assigned to watch the videotape, in addition to the usual consent process involving written and verbal information from the treating resident psychiatrist, showed only one postconsent difference from a group that had the usual consent process without the videotape. Those who saw the videotape were less sure that they had adequate information to decide whether to have ECT than those who did not see it (p < 0.05). Although patients likely to benefit from such an audiovisual approach may be identifiable, it seems that an informative videotape offers no universal advantage over more conventional information giving in the consent process.

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