Patients may find certain intimate examinations a doctor needs to do quite distressing, or some patients for cultural or personal reasons may feel uncomfortable of an examination requires them to undress and/ or be touched, may feel vulnerable.
Chaperoning may help reduce distress, but must be used in conjunction with respectful behaviour, explanation, informed consent and privacy.
What is a chaperone?
A chaperone is present as a safeguard for both parties (patient and healthcare professionals) and is a witness to the conduct and the patients continuing consent to the examination or procedure.
- Their presence adds a layer of protection for a doctor; it is very rare for a doctor to receive an allegation of assault if they have a chaperone present.
- Acknowledge a patient’s vulnerability.
- Provides emotional comfort and reassurance.
- Assists in the examination.
- Assists with undressing patients.
- Enables them to act as an interpreter.
A chaperone is NOT used to reduce the risk of attack on a health professional.
If you wish to have a chaperone present for an examination with a health professional, please notify the reception staff in advance of the consultation or notify the doctor/ nurse during your consultation.