MRTs provide patients and/or caregivers with an accurate description of procedures and associated risks in a truthful and comprehensible manner
- The CAMRT Code of Ethics directs MRTs to assist patients and/or caregivers in making informed decisions about care1.
- Patient decisions and consent should be based on fact and a true representation of the benefits and risks of each procedure/treatment.
- The significance of each procedure/treatment as part of their overall management and health should be explained to patients and/or caregivers
- Patients and/or caregivers are made aware that the use of radiation in diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy is always designed to deliver benefit and minimize risks2
- Explanations and answers to patient and/or caregiver questions should be comprehensive and accurate, and remain within the limits of an MRT’s knowledge and authority/responsibility.
- Information that falls outside the limits of an MRT’s knowledge and authority/responsibility is referred to the appropriate healthcare professional
- Clear communication regarding benefit and risk is essential in ensuring understanding2:
- Information is presented in a way that patients and/or caregivers can understand
- Technical information is conveyed in clear, simple, everyday language (avoiding medical jargon)
- Important ideas are emphasized and not lost in the discussion
- Information is current and accurate
- Information is presented in a structured and organized way
- MRTs confirm patients and/or caregivers demonstrate comprehension of the information and allow patients the opportunity to ask questions and clarify concerns.
- The task of helping patients and/or caregivers to understand these concepts can be facilitated through the use of interactive tools.
- www.radiologyinfo.org is a useful aid for patient/caregiver education, as it provides:
- Discussion of most available diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
- In-depth explanations aimed at a patient audience
- Important benefits and risks
- In addition, there are some publicly available tools to help patients and/or caregivers understand abstract concepts like radiation dose (see Useful links)2.
- The risk calculator at www.xrayrisk.com is a useful tool to relate the concept of radiation dose as an equivalent amount of exposure to the natural background radiation
Canadian Association of medical radiation technologists. Code of Ethics. CAMRT. June 2008. Available from: http://www.camrt.ca/mrt-profession/professional-resources/code-of-ethics/. [Accessed 3 Nov 2014]
Joint Task Force on Adult Radiation Protection. Image Wisely. How to Understand and Communicate Radiation Risk. Available at: http://www.imagewisely.org/Imaging-Professionals/Medical-Physicists/Articles/How-to-Understand-and-Communicate-Radiation-Risk. [Accessed 21 March 2013]