Using principles of health literacy to enhance the informed consent process

AORN J. 2008 Jul;88(1):23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2008.03.001.


THE LANGUAGE COMMONLY used in procedural/surgical consent forms often exceeds the average reading level of US patients, and many do not read the document before signing it. INCORPORATING READER-FRIENDLY language and formatting makes it more likely that patients will read the document, understand it, and therefore give informed consent. Adding "teach back" into the document provides a means of evaluating patient understanding. USING READER-FRIENDLY procedural/surgical consent documents merges the objectives of both health literacy and informed consent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comprehension
  • Consent Forms*
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent*
  • Language
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Staff
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative