You and your child cannot participate in care-related decisions unless you receive all the information you need. Caregivers must fully inform you of the following:
- Your child's state of health
- The examination, care and treatment options that are available
- What aids are available
- What they hope to achieve with your child's care and treatment
- What risks your child has for developing various complications or adverse effects
- The methods are available to prevent injury or illness
There is no specific age at which children first have the right to be involved in decisions about their care. The most decisive factor is maturity, which may or not be solely determined by the child's age. For instance, a child with a chronic illness or disability may have acquired greater maturity to make health care decisions than others of the same age without such experiences.
The older a child gets, the more often it is that both s(he) and the parents or legal guardians must consent to the care that is provided. The caregivers in charge, usually in consultation with you, determine how and when your child should start participating in the decision-making process.
Information for children without your involvement
Under certain circumstances, your child and the caregivers may communicate directly without your involvement, although you may be aware that it is happening. For example, your child has the right to speak privately to a caregiver without your finding out what they talked about. If the conversation raises serious questions about the child's health or safety, the caregiver is obliged to submit a report to the municipal social services.
If your child is capable of taking the initiative to obtain health advice and counselling, (s)he can specify that you not be in the room or that you not be told what conclusions were reached. A child who goes to a youth clinic is entitled to decide whether anyone else can find out that s(he) has been there or read the medical records.
A child has the right to obtain individual support, advice and information about situations that concern the family. For instance, a member of the family may die, have a disability or suffer from a chronic physical or mental illness.