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There are several factors to consider when getting consent from a service user, things to consider, can they understand what you are saying or asking, have they got the capacity to make the decision, can they communicate their wishes. Seeking consent is about helping the service user to make an informed decision, it is the job of the carer to give them all the information that they need to make such a decision, including risks, if the service user hasn’t the capacity to make informed decision you can have a best interests meeting involving family, advocate, health professionals, care manager, social worker, best interests meetings can cover, wellbeing, relationships, religious needs. If an agreement cannot be reached then the courts can determine what is in the service user’s best interests. Sometimes the service users are unable to make informed decisions because of mental health problems, dementia or learning disabilities.

In all cases a gentle approach is needed and support from health professionals, never be afraid to ask for advice form a professional agency; it is not a weakness to ask it just shows that you know where to go to get the help to support your service user. The service user has the right to be given choices and the aids to communicate their decisions through speech, pictures, talking mats, makaton, talking boards where they can point at yes or no, or a happy face or sad face, if the service user first language isn’t English you may need to get an interpreter. Whatever you do you must not force the service user into making a decision by putting pressure on them, also making sure they are not simply agreeing to please you. Always inform the service user that they can change their decision at any time and you will support that decision.

Scenario: A 45year old Service user has been having heavy periods, after visiting her doctor and having a hospital scan she is given the opportunity to have a hysterectomy operation, after sharing her thoughts with staff an appointment is made for her to see her doctor to discuss the operation, how the operation would be conducted and how long the recovery would take and what other options were open to her, after the appointment she had all the information to make an informed decision, The service user decided that she would take medication and except the heavy periods. Always record any important decisions made by the service users, follow employers policies and procedures.

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