Evidence-based Non-Surgical Treatments
Before agreeing to undergo a test or treatment, here are five questions your healthcare professional should answer for you first.
- What is the purpose or goal of a given treatment “x”?
- Is there independent and published research that treatment “x” works for everyone with your condition?
- Are there risks that treatment “x” could make your condition worse or cause other health problems?
- Are there other treatments available for your condition?
- How does treatment “x” compare to other treatments in terms of benefits, risks and costs?
What is Informed Consent?
Before performing any test or treatment, all licensed healthcare professionals are required to make every effort to make sure that every patient understands (1) the purpose, (2) the benefits and (3) the risks of a given test or treatment as well as (4) the benefits and risks of other tests or treatments that are available for their condition.
Healthcare professionals must secure the patient’s informed consent before initiating a treatment or test AND at every appointment. Healthcare professionals typically require patients to confirm consent in writing (signing a consent form).
Informed consent for a given treatment at one appointment does not automatically mean it can be repeated at a future appointment without your consent. At every appointment your healthcare professional must educate you and ask for your consent to perform any treatment – even if you’ve undergone the treatment in the past.
It’s your right to ask questions and to do research.
In order to help patients make the most informed decision about a treatment, I believe it’s important for patients to have easy access to unbiased and independent research / evidence.
Here are two internationally recognized and respected online databases that should be helpful to your research – they are both free to use and allow you to search by a given diagnosis or treatment method using plain language. Cochrane and PEDro
To perform a search hit the search image below and enter your injury or symptom and a treatment to see what the research says.
I hope you find these resources helpful and invite you to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.
Terry Kane, Registered Physiotherapist (Calgary, Alberta)
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