Operationalising the notion of sufficient maturity to provide informed consent when minors present for treatment.
Du Plessis, Jonelle.
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Laws in South Africa, such as the Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007(Government Gazette, Act 38 of 2005), is developed with good intentions of promoting prevention and intervention on various health-related issues. Laws also dictate, based on developmental and evolving capabilities, chronological ages at which children and adolescents may access certain healthcare services without parental consent, whilst limiting them in other areas such as decision-making for research participation. Of interest to this study is how specialists in health care, conceptualise, understand and apply “sufficient maturity” in their encounters with minors presenting for treatment, in order to identify key concepts of sufficient maturity. From the interviews conducted, themes were identified that were relevant to the construct of “sufficient maturity.”Results indicated that there were two primary perspectives participants used to assess “sufficient maturity” when minors presented for treatment.Health care practitioners, depending on the health care context, assess minors’ sufficient maturity in relation to, either a competency based or a deficiency model.