Informed Consent in Social Work


Resource: Example executive summary in the Center for Writing Excellence

Review your state?s (Montana) law or administrative rule regarding informed consent and the requirements of human service workers.

Write a executive summary of the standards and expectations.

Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines.

Sample paper

Informed Consent in Social Work

Social workers should only provide services to clients on a professional basis only. Just like therapists are bound by professional code of ethics, most states incorporate these ethical and legal requirements in order to inform social workers about the limits of confidentiality. In Montana State, the board of social work examiners is bound by state laws. The state requires social workers to obtain written consent from the client or from the client’s legal representative before recording, taping or having a third party observing a client’s activities in a way thigh might put the client at risk. This is applicable in both legal and ethical cases so that the client can fully understand all information regarding diagnosis and treatment programs that will be used. Before a client gives a written consent, the social worker should not proceed with anything (, 2017).

According to the 2005 Montana Code Annotated -46-14-217- admissibility of statements made during examination or treatment, informed consent should always be a priority. The code provides that any statement made during psychological or psychiatric examination or treatment that is provided by a client in the course of a session, is not admissible whether or not it is on the clients issue on mental condition

Montana state laws stipulate that a social worker must provide a client with “informed consent” before any nonemergency procedure such as a surgery takes place. The policy of informed consent ensures that the client is fully aware of all the risks and complications that might occur during the procedure and who should take the responsibility for the bills. The informed consent forms are essential when sutures, incisions, and excisions are made and whenever surgical instruments are used. In such cases, the informed consent policy can only hold if both parties discuss and agree on the procedure as well as the risk, complications and the outcome.

Prior to any assessments, social workers and counselors should explain to the client or their representatives the nature and purpose of the assessment. The social worker should also explain the use of results in a language that the client or their representative can understand. The only exception to this rule occurs when everything has been discussed and agreed upon in advance. Regardless of whether it is the social workers, counselors, assistants, outside services, or computers involved in scoring and interpretation, social workers and counselors are responsible for ensuring that clients receive appropriate explanations. In addition, for the sake of the client’s welfare, clear understanding and prior agreement will determine who should receive the results. Whenever they release individual or group test results, social workers should always provide appropriate and accurate interpretations (, 2011).

In case a procedure is performed before a client’s informed consent, the patient could sue the social worker, counselor or medic for both battery and medical negligence. Battery is a quite a different form of medical malpractice since the client patient does not have to prove that negligence actually happened. The only thing that a patient has to prove is that the physician did not provide the informed consent (, 2017).

Human service workers are responsible for getting the patient informed consent so that the physician and the client/patient can have a better relationship. The social workers explain everything to the client and answers any questions they might have concerning any procedures. Therefore, obtaining informed consent in Montana is an essential stage that social workers should always prioritize.

References,. (2017). The Center For Ethical Practice | Examples of Federal and State LawsAffecting Confidentiality. Retrieved 1 April 2017, from,. (2011). 24.219.1011 : INFORMED CONSENT IN THE USE OF ASSESSMENT AND TESTING INSTRUMENTS – Administrative Rules of the State of Montana. Retrieved 1 April 2017, from,. (2017). 24.219.1213 : DISCLOSURE AND INFORMED CONSENT – Administrative Rules of the State of Montana. Retrieved 1 April 2017, from

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