Informed Consent in Aesthetics
Don't take another step - before you have your patient read and sign all consent forms! A patient's written consent and acknowledgement of the treatment and risks is simply not optional anymore. Sure, there was a time when a provider's word was gold. There was little written in a chart about the discussion of risks and side effects. Nowadays, however, no matter how much you want to help someone, you must protect yourself in the process.
By protecting ourselves, we are also providing the patient with the best care by disclosing all potential side effects and adverse reactions. These forms often lead to further conversations regarding the treatment and allow the patient to know what to expect both during and after the procedure.
Consent forms should be specific for the type of procedure being performed (i.e., laser hair removal, chemical peel, excisional surgery). Specific locations, settings and any applicable safety information should be listed on these consent forms. The use of eye protection must be documented, as well as precautions taken by the provider to avoid possible unwanted side effects.
Both pre- and postprocedural checklists are popular to confirm that proper patient education and instructions are given. Checklists can help ensure that you do not miss an important step, such as the signing of consent forms. Let's face it: Aesthetics practices are typically very busy and every practice should be in the habit of always having consent forms signed.
In the world of medicine, aesthetics is no different from any other medical practice or hospital. Our offices may look more like a spa than a doctor's office or surgical suite, but we are practicing the same medical protocols as any other specialty. No matter how busy your office is, you cannot allow yourself to be too busy for something as crucial as a signed consent. Up until those pages are signed, you should consider yourself at a red light. Do not proceed until those forms are complete and that light is nice and green!