Informed consent for total hip arthroplasty: does a written information sheet improve recall by patients?

Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2002 Nov;84(6):404-8. doi: 10.1308/003588402760978201.


Objective: To ascertain whether a written information sheet is acceptable to patients and improves recall of the consent interview.

Design: Prospective randomised controlled study using questionnaires, comparing a group of patients given information in a written sheet with appropriate explanation to a group given verbal information alone.

Setting: A specialist orthopaedic surgery unit.

Patients: The test group was 126 patients undergoing revision or primary total hip arthroplasty; 65 patients were given information verbally, 61 patients were given written information.

Outcome measure: Patients' recall of information given, tested with a questionnaire completed on admission (mean of 18 days later).

Results: The patients receiving written information scored significantly higher (48% correct answers) than the patients receiving verbal information (38% correct answers).

Conclusions: Written information sheets contribute to the process of informed consent. As patients' recall of information is generally poor, the sheets may also be useful medicolegally, as a permanent record of what was discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent / ethics
  • Informed Consent / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires