Informed Consent

Under Sec. 51.61, Wisconsin Statutes, The patient's written, "informed consent" is required:

  • To perform labor which is of financial benefit to the facility. (ss. 51.61(1)(b)1c)
  • For all medication and treatment (unless court-ordered). (ss. 51.61(1)(f)-(g))
  • To be subjected to experimental research. (ss. 51.61(1)(j))
  • To be subjected to psychosurgery, or other drastic treatment procedures. (ss. 51.61(1)(k))
  • For release of treatment records (with 27 exceptions - refer to ss. 51.61(1)(n) and ss. 51.30 for list)
  • To be filmed or taped. (ss. 51.61(1)(o))
  • For customary and usual treatment techniques and procedures, "…unless the person has been found not competent to refuse medication and treatment under ss. 51.61(1)(g). In the case of a minor, the written, informed consent of the parent or guardian is required. Except as provided under an order issued under ss. 51.14 (3) (h) or (4) (g), if the minor is 14 years of age or older, the written, informed consent of the minor and the minor's parent or guardian is required…" (ss. 51.61(6))

Guardian's Consent

Any informed consent which is required under sub. (1)(a) to (i) may be exercised by the patient's legal guardian if the patient has been adjudicated incompetent and the guardian is so empowered, or by the parent of the patient if the patient is a minor. (ss. 51.61(8))


DHS 94.02(22), Wisconsin Administrative Code - "Informed consent" or "consent" means written consent voluntarily signed by a patient who is competent and who understands the terms of the consent, or by the patient's legal guardian or the parent of a minor, as permitted under s.51.61(6) and (8), Stats., without any form of coercion, or temporary oral consent obtained by telephone in accordance with DHS 94.03 (2m).

DHS 94.03, Wisconsin Administrative Code - "INFORMED CONSENT. (1) Any informed consent document required under this chapter shall declare that the patient or the person acting on the patient's behalf has been provided with specific, complete and accurate information and time to study the information or to seek additional information concerning the proposed treatment or services made necessary by and directly related to the person's mental illness, developmental disability, alcoholism or drug dependency, including:

(a) The benefits of the proposed treatment and services;

(b) The way the treatment is to be administered and the services are to be provided;

(c) The expected treatment side effects or risks of side effects which are a reasonable possibility, including side effects or risks of side effects from medications;

(d) Alternative treatment modes and services;

(e) The probable consequences of not receiving the proposed treatment and services;

(f) The time period for which the informed consent is effective, which shall be no longer than 15 months from the time the consent is given; and

(g) The right to withdraw informed consent at any time, in writing.

(2) An informed consent document is not valid unless the subject patient who signed it is competent, that is, substantially able to understand all significant information which has been explained in easily understandable language, or the consent form has been signed by the legal guardian of an incompetent patient or the parent of a minor, except that the patient's informed consent is always required for the patient's participation in experimental research, subjection to drastic treatment procedures or receipt of electroconvulsive therapy.

(2m) In emergency situations or where time and distance requirements preclude obtaining written consent before beginning treatment and a determination is made that harm will come to the patient if treatment is not initiated before written consent is obtained, informed consent for treatment may be temporarily obtained by telephone from the parent of a minor patient or the guardian of a patient. Oral consent shall be documented in the patient's record, along with details of the information verbally explained to the parent or guardian about the proposed treatment. Verbal consent shall be valid for a period of 10 days, during which time informed consent shall be obtained in writing.

(3) The patient, or the person acting on the patient's behalf, shall be given a copy of the completed informed consent form, upon request.

(4) When informed consent is refused or withdrawn, no retaliation may be threatened or "carried out."

Last Revised: November 18, 2014