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Obtaining "Informed" Consent from the Elderly

Obtaining "Informed" Consent from the Elderly


ISSUES IN CLINICAL NURSING RESEARCH Obtaining "Informed" Consent From the Elderly' Anna C. Alt-White While assisting the author to conduct research with elderly people residing in an independent living retirement facility (ILRF), a graduate student research assistant stated that she felt the residents did not give "informed" consent to participate in the study because some reported they could not remember hearing about the study and because no written consent was obtained. This assertion was surprising and caused concern. As the principal investigator, the author personally took numerous steps to ensure that the rights of these mentally competent elders were protected and that they were adequately informed before seeking their participation. First, the ILRF board of directors2 reviewed and approved the proposal. Because survey methods and extensive procedures for informing potential participants were to be used, the board concurred that individual agreement to participate in the interview implied consent. Second, the information dissemination procedures being followed prior to approaching individuals included presenting the study to the ILRF residents at their association meetings and providing ample time for questions; publishing articles about the study in the ILRF newsletters; and, 1 week prior to approaching individuals, placing under their doors a
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