The consent process is a critical part of any research study. It is important that the process for obtaining consent from vulnerable populations, such as critically ill children, strikes a balance between adhering to strict ethical standards and supporting the progress of research studies.
The PICU research group at the CHEO Research Institute has been actively looking at the many factors that influence the consent process in pediatric critical care research. Their goal is to better understand and identify factors that influence the consent process with a view to improve the process for patients, families, health care teams and researchers.
Parental Understanding of Research Consent Forms in the PICU: A Pilot Study
Despite positive opinions of the consent form, most legal guardians did not understand all key components of the consent information provided to them orally and in writing within 24 hours of their child’s PICU admission. Future studies are required to determine barriers to understanding and explore alternative approaches to obtaining consent in this setting.