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You need to choose one of the four case studies. From the policies, you have explored you need to decide from what perspective you want to explore the case study. You then decide what area you intend to explore. I have made a list of suggestions following each case study that might assist you.
You are required to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, discussing the case study and associated policies concentrating on the themes of developmental appropriateness, inclusiveness and philosophical models adopted for the analysis.
Structure of the assessment:
Both the abstract and slide notes require in-text references and provide a reference list. Neither of these will count as part of your word count.
There is a specific format to follow when completing the abstract. To help give you direction there will be a Word document template for you to complete in the Task 1 assessment area attached to this item.
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Purpose: Children, particularly adolescents, have the capacity of making the decision to a certain extent (Parsapoor et al., 2014, p.241). According to the Minors (Property and Contracts) Act, 1970 (NSW), children who are ≥ 14 years can give consent for his or her medical and dental treatment. Further, the NSW Act allows the parents of the children >16 years to validate the child ‘consent for his or her dental or medical treatment (New South Wales Government). Infants, children, and adolescents have dignity and intrinsic value to claim respect, protection and medical treatment in their best interest regardless of their physical or mental disability. The Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 (SA) (2015) suggests that children ≥16-year-old can give consent to medical treatment when the medical practitioner believes that that child is capable of understanding the consequence or risk of treatment.
Methodology: This paper will discuss child rights and common laws in the Australian Jurisdictions, which are related to the issues of minors ‘consent to treatment. The components of the care and protection system, including the guardianship jurisdiction, the involvement of parents and the role of courts for the child’s welfare, will be discussed.
Findings: This presentation discusses the right of children in decision making and consent for the treatment. The legislative provisions and common laws in Australia recognize that adolescents have the competency of making decisions regarding their medical treatment. However, when there is a conflict between parents, medical practitioner and the child’s wishes, then the court’s makes its decision based upon the child’s best interest.
Slide 1: Participation of Children in Decision Making and Consent to treatment
Slide 2: Autonomy allows the patient to make their decisions either accept or refuse treatment. According to the Minors (Property and Contracts) Act, 1970 (NSW), children who are 14 years or above can give consent for his or her medical treatment (New South Wales Government). In general, the age of consent remains 18 years in most of the Australian jurisdictions (Parsapoor et al., 2014, p.241). However, in NSW and South Australia, the age of consent to medical treatment is amended by the legislation to 14 years and 16 years, respectively.
Children aged between 16 to 18 years also have the right to give consent, but they do not have the right to deny life-saving treatment. A 16- year old consent can be obtained from a person who holds the parental responsibility or from the child itself when the physician considers that the child can understand and make an informed decision. Parents’ or guardians’ consent is required for providing treatment to children who are younger than 16 years. If a child younger than 16 years refuses to receive life-saving treatment, then consent from the court should be obtained or by the biological parents of the child (McNary et al., 2016, p.53). Medical professionals should respect the autonomy of an individual and inform the patient about their illness (Ford, et al., 2014, p. 183).
Slide 3: In all the Jurisdictions of Australia, the child’s consent alone is sufficient of the child has adequate understanding and intelligence that enables him or her to make the right decision. Before getting the consent signed, the medical practitioner should check whether the child is capable of understanding the nature, consequences, and risk of the treatment. Section 15 of the Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care Act 1995 (SA) (2015) states that medical practitioners should explain the nature, consequences, and risk of the proposed medical treatment. Further, they should inform the patients of the alternative treatment options and the consequences of not taking treatment.
Slide 4: Gillick competence principle helps to understand consent to medical treatment among minors. A House of Lords ruling in Gillick V West Norflok Area Health Authority (1986) states that a child who is under the age of 16 has an adequate level of intelligence to understand the treatment proposed and can give consent to treatment in the absence of parental consent but cannot refuse to life-saving treatment (Griffith,2016, para 5). The New South Wale Law Reform Commission has stated that the courts may revoke the decision of a child to refuse treatment if the court believes that the treatment will be beneficial for the child and will improve his or her condition. When a parent or a legal guardian is not available to give consent and delay in the treatment can cause life-threatening or severe harm to the patient, the consent is presumed. Parents may provide consent to treatment that is in the best interest of the child. However, according to the family Law Act 1975, in the case of major, invasive and irreversible surgery, neither the parent nor child can give consent. In such a case, consent should be obtained from the court. When a minor is allowed to consent to treatment, the health care professionals to discuss the patient’s expectation regarding privacy (Chenneville et al., 2010, p.83).