The physiotherapy techniques, like any medical act, must meet certain requirements. In this case we are going to talk about those related to information and consent, acts of crucial importance and that should always be taken into account.

If we go to the physiotherapist, what kind of explanations should he give us, in which case is an informed consent necessary? Verbal or written? We answer these questions below …

Informed consent in physiotherapy This is what you should knowRight to information

The patient has the right to receive information about their process and also about the techniques that will be performed. He also has the right, if he decides, not to be informed.

To this it is necessary to add that, following the deontological code of their profession, the sanitary personnel must offer treatments that are based on a demonstrated efficacy and that adapt to the needs of the patient.

Therefore, health professionals, respecting Law 41/2002, of November 14, basic regulatory of the autonomy of the patient and rights and obligations in terms of information and clinical documentation, must inform and record in the patient’s history all these data.

Sometimes the information is given informally, quickly, in a hurry … And this is a mistake. The transmission of information about the process that affects the patient is paramount. The health professional must ensure that he gives adequate explanations, and that the patient understands the situation and what has been explained to him.

The patient must know that the informed consent must be something explicit so that each technique or exploration can be applied. Of special care are those interventions in invasive, uncomfortable, in sensitive regions or that, although they have a beneficial therapeutic effect, there is the possibility that certain side effects or unpleasant appear.

Informed consent Verbal or in writing?

The specific case of informed consent appears in point 8 of said Law 41/2002. In this section it is established that, in general, the consent will be made verbally. That supposes that the professional explains the procedure, technique, exploration … It justifies it and obtains the consent of the patient.

In case the patient rejects, another route must be found with their consent. You cannot force anyone to do something they do not want, or that makes them feel uncomfortable, even if it is “for their health”. Possible adverse reactions, side effects, etc. should also be reported.

Quoting the Law textually: “However, it will be provided in writing in the following cases: surgical intervention, invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and, in general, application of procedures that involve risks or inconveniences of notorious and foreseeable negative impact on the patient’s health.”

That is to say, that invasive techniques of diagnosis or treatment or that can suppose appearance of inconveniences must always be informed in writing , before the execution. For example, in intense techniques such as EPI, dry needling, electrofitness, manipulations and other techniques in which there is a possibility of adverse reactions.

Also in the diagnostic and exploration processes : the need for the patient to undress, or to make explorations of intimate areas (there are certain injuries and treatment techniques that require it must be justified. There are professionals who use written consent also for these cases.

What should an informed consent include?

By way of summary, you should include at least this information …

  1. Name and description of the technique or procedure, in a simple manner, with understandable terms aimed at the general population. It does not mean that there can not be technicalities, but they must be clearly explained.
  2. Objectives of the procedure. Better if it includes bibliography or references.
  3. Benefits that are expected to be achieved.
  4. Risks, contraindications, side effects, possibility of allergy (for example, in case of dry needling, there may be people who are allergic to the material).
  5. Alternatives to the procedure.
  6. Possibility to revoke it at any time.