Massage & Bodywork

January | February 2014

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Page 42 of 141

education CLASSROOM TO CLIENT Informed Consent What Your Clients Need To Know By Anne Williams Informed consent is a process by which a fully informed client consents to participate in the massage treatment. It originates from the ethical (and legal) right of the client to direct what happens to his body, and from the ethical duty of the therapist to involve the client in choices related to his wellness. In order for the client's consent to be valid, he must be considered competent to make the decision to consent, and that consent must be voluntary. Parents or legal guardians must provide informed consent for minors, or for those unable to consent on their own due to mental or physical challenges. STANDARDS AND ETHICS With respect to standard of practice and informed consent, the therapist is obligated to fully inform the client of choices relating to her care, and disclose policies and limitations that may affect her care. The therapist will not provide massage without obtaining informed consent. 40 massage & bodywork january/february 2014 In our Code of Ethics, ABMP stipulates that practitioners must "recognize a client's right to determine what happens to his or her body. I understand that a client may suffer emotional and physical harm if a therapist fails to listen to the client and imposes his or her own beliefs on a situation. I will fully inform my clients of choices relating to their care, and disclose policies and limitations that may affect their care. I will not provide massage without obtaining a client's informed consent (or that of the guardian or advocate for the client) to the session plan." OBTAINING CONSENT The process of obtaining the client's informed consent takes place during the first health intake procedure before the client receives a massage. During this exchange, the massage therapist provides specific types of information and the client signs a form stating that he understands, and would like to participate in the massage treatment. Sometimes the client is handed numerous documents such as a menu of services with fees and business policies, a brochure on what to expect during a massage, and a short informed consent form. You could also choose to include all or some of the information in one document, as in the sample that begins on page 41. Use this language in your own document by substituting your information for the sample information. When the client has read and understood the informed consent information, the client signs it and a copy is placed in the file. Information provided to the client includes: • A written and verbal description of massage, its limits, its benefits, indications, contraindications, and risks, along with some

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