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How does informed consent work in Georgia nursing homes?

When you are a patient, you expect your health care provider in Georgia to provide you with the details of the diagnosis and treatment recommendations, and you have the right to choose. This is known as informed consent. Your loved one in a nursing home should also be able to choose, either providing the go-ahead personally or through a surrogate. Otherwise, medications or care plans may be used that would have results that do not meet your loved one’s best interest.

According to the Long Term Care Community Coalition, Georgia law does not actually say that informed consent is necessary in nursing homes. However, the Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities does say that the resident, or you if you are the guardian, must be allowed to be involved in health care decisions. Every time a doctor wants to make a change in the treatment plan, he or she should tell you of your participation rights.

You and your loved one do not have to accept doctor recommendations. Before you refuse a treatment, medication or other care plan change, though, you should understand what the likely outcomes may be if it is or is not carried out.

There are some important exceptions to note. If a doctor determines that refusing care would cause health or safety risks to your loved one or anyone else in the facility, he or she may not need to wait until after you are notified. Instead, the notification would go to the county department of family and children services, or your loved one would be referred to a hospital. This information should not be interpreted as medical or legal advice.

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