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Perceived Quality of Informed Refusal Process: A Cross-Sectional Study from Iranian Patients' Perspectives


  • Mehrdad Farzandipour,

  • Abbas Sheikhtaheri,

    Corresponding author
    • Address for correspondence: Abbas Sheikhtaheri, Department of Health Information Management, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Enghelab St., Qods St,. Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran. Email:

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  • Monireh Sadeqi Jabali

  • Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared


Patients have the right to refuse their treatment; however, this refusal should be informed. We evaluated the quality of the informed refusal process in Iranian hospitals from patients' viewpoints. To this end, we developed a questionnaire that covered four key aspects of the informed refusal process including; information disclosure, voluntariness, comprehension, and provider-patient relationship. A total of 284 patients who refused their treatment from 12 teaching hospitals in the Isfahan Province, Iran, were recruited and surveyed to produce a convenience sample. Patients' perceptions about the informed refusal process were scored and the mean scores of the four components were calculated. The findings showed that the practice of information disclosure (9.6 ± 6.4 out of 22 points) was perceived to be moderate, however, comprehension (2.3 ± 1.4 out of 4 points), voluntariness (8.7 ± 1.5 out of 12 points) and provider–patient relationship (10.2 ± 5.2 out of 16 points) were perceived to be relatively good. We found that patients, who refused their care before any treatment had commenced, reported a lower quality of information disclosure and voluntariness. Patients informed by nurses and those who had not had a previous related admission, reported lower scores for comprehension and relationship. In conclusion, the process of obtaining informed refusal was relatively satisfactory except for levels of information disclosure. To improve current practices, Iranian patients need to be better informed about; different treatment options, consequences of treatment refusal, costs of not continuing treatment and follow-ups after refusal. Developing more informative refusal forms is needed.