Capacity and Patient Proxy in Dentistry

Capacity and Patient Proxy in Dentistry



Capacity is the ability to understand and use information to make an informed decision. However, as discussed earlier this year in the Primary Dental Journal, the UK has a "growing ageing population" as well as "increased life expectancy". 

This inevitably means that dental professionals, alongside other healthcare professionals, will be "exposed to a greater number of patients with health conditions which may affect cognitive function, communication and capacity to consent to treatment."† 

Dental professionals must accommodate these individuals, whilst trying to determine what the patient's best interests are. When creating a treatment consent for an upcoming procedure or on the day, if you are treating a patient with capacity issues, you will be required to gain consent from someone close to the patient. 

At Flynotes, we understand that clinicians are likely to face capacity matters, therefore you are still able to gain an informed bespoke consent when using the Patient Proxy functionality (by sliding the toggle), which a guardian or relative can sign on behalf of the patient lacking capacity.

This is what you will see at the bottom of the treatment consent creation section:

References:

British Medical Association (BMA). Medical students ethics tool kit: Consent for treatment - adults with capacity. 2018. Available from: https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/ethics/medical-students-ethics-toolkit/6-consent-to-treatment-capacity   


Burke, S. Consent and Capacity - Considerations for the Dental Team Part 2: Adults Lacking Capacity. Dent Update 2017; 44: 762-772. 


†Dhadwal, A.S., Sibanda, L. and Blum, I.R., 2020. Awareness and Understanding of Decision-Making Capacity and Its Relationship to Legally Valid Consent for Older Patients in Dentistry. Primary Dental Journal, 9(3), pp.59-63. 


General Dental Council (GDC). Focus on Standards: The 9 principles. Available from: https://standards.gdc-uk.org/ (Accessed October 2019).