This retrospective questionnaire study evaluates the perceptions of veterinary clients of the informed consent process and the consent form in a veterinary referral hospital. Replicating a validated perception survey from human medicine, 470 clients at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals were surveyed on their perceptions during the consenting process through postal survey examining their understanding, experience and recall of informed consent. Of the 165 responses (35 per cent response rate), the majority of clients recalled the process and signing the form; however, half of the clients did not feel in control (51 per cent) or reassured (53 per cent) by the process. There was limited understanding of the purpose of consent, with 45 per cent thinking it removed their right to compensation for negligence and 31 per cent thought the veterinarian could do something different from the agreed procedure. Sixty per cent of clients did not read the form, as they trusted their veterinarian, but 33 per cent of clients felt frightened by the process. This survey highlights the need to understand the process of consent from the client's perspective, and adapt the consenting process to incorporate this into professional communication to ensure that the professional and contractual objectives of consent are met fully.
- Law relating to animals
- Practice management
- Veterinary profession
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