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Assessment of readability level of informed consent forms used in intensive care units

Munise Yildiz, Betul Kozanhan, Mahmut Sami Tutar.


Informed consent forms are printed forms prepared to assist patients in the treatment process by explaining the indications, benefits and possible risks of medical practices. Readability describes understanding difficulty and is calculated by mathematical formulas. The study aimed to assess the readability level of “Informed Consent Forms” used in intensive care units. The informed consent forms from 45 hospitals in our country have been gathered. In each average form number of words, the average number of syllables and the average number of words with 4 or more syllables were manually calculated using the “Microsoft Office Excel 2016®” program. Their readability levels have been assessed with Atesman and Bezirci-Yılmaz readability formulas. The readability level of forms was “difficult” according to the Atesman readability formula and at “undergraduate level” according to the Bezirci-Yilmaz readability formula. The readability level of forms used in private hospitals was found to be significantly lower than that used in state and university hospitals (p=0.019, p=0.012). The average number of words and the average number of words with 4 or more syllables in forms were found to be significantly higher in private hospitals compared to state and university hospitals (p=0.004, p=0.01). It has been determined that the readability level of informed consent forms was at academic literacy level. To protect patient rights and to regulate patient-physician relationships by taking into account individuals rights, informed consent forms should be reviewed and that their readability levels should be adjusted to cover the overall educational level of individuals in the general population.

Key words: Intensive care, informed consent form, readability

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