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Resources :: Guide :: Vulnerable and risk sensitive participants :: Vulnerable participants :: Diminshed mental capacity :: Unable to consent

Why are Participants with Diminished Mental Capacity Unable to Consent?

As it is with minors, adults with diminished mental capacity may not have the legal ability to consent.  These individuals will likely have a legally authorized representative who will be able to act in the participant’s best interests. However, there may be other participants who still retain the legal right to consent but may not have the cognitive capability to consent.  For example, an elderly person may retain the right to consent but may need assistance from a caretaker in order to make the decision to participate.  During the consent process, you may need to assess each individual’s needs on a case-by-case basis, part of which may be assessing the participant’s capacity to consent or even to participate.

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