Development of Recommendations for the Assessment of Adolescents’ Competence in Clinical Care

Introduction :

The assessment of competence among adolescents, whether in the context of clinical care or research is difficult: it depends heavily on the legal, family, religious and cultural context, the complexity of situations posing ethical dilemnas as well as the bio-psychosocial development of the adolescent. As in many countries, it is accepted that even minot adolescents have the competence to make autonomus decision as long as they can be considered as competent, it is the responsibility of the health care provider to assess his young patient’s competence and to what extent, in any given situation, the patient can make informed decision about his/her health. There are currently no formal recommendations and guidelines that guide the health care professional as how to assess the competence of a young person in a given situation. The objective of the workshop is to develop a set of recommendations which will assist health professionals in evaluating the competence of their adolescent patients within various clinical settings. These recommendations will be widely disseminated by the World Health Organization in European countries and other parts of the world. Although the focus of the meeting is clinical care, most recommendations will be applicable to the assessment of competence in the area of human research on/with adolescents

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