What is a chaperone?
A chaperone is an impartial person who brings reassurance to both patient and doctor.
Who can be your chaperone?
« A chaperone should usually be a health professional, and you must be satisfied that the chaperone will:
- be sensitive and respect the patient’s dignity and confidentiality;
- reassure the patient if they show signs of distress or discomfort;
- be familiar with the procedures involved in a routine intimate examination;
- stay for the whole examination and be able to see what the doctor is doing, if practical;
- be prepared to raise concerns if they are concerned about the doctor’s behaviour or actions » GMC guidance in Good Medical Practice 2013.
You can also ask a family member to act as a chaperone; however, you may prefer not to make family members/relatives aware of your full medical history. Also, the GMC guidance states that a relative or friend of the patient is not an impartial observer and so would not usually be a suitable chaperone.
When is a chaperone recommended ?
The most obvious example is with intimate examinations, and in these situations a chaperone must be offered. However, it is important to remember that what can be classed as an intimate examination may depend on the individual patient.
It would be unwise to proceed with any examination if the healthcare professional is unsure that the patient understands due to a language barrier. If an interpreter is available, they may be able to double as an informal chaperone.
Some patients may require a chaperone for other examinations too. For example, particularly vulnerable patients or those who have suffered abuse may need a chaperone for examinations where it is necessary to touch or be close to them.
If the patient has requested a chaperone and none is available at that time, the patient must be given the opportunity to reschedule their appointment within a reasonable timeframe.
Maybe your clinician is not able to provide you a chaperone, or perhaps you prefer to have a French experienced healthcare professional to act as a chaperone.
This is your right to be assisted by the person of your choice.
Whatever the reason, if you are not feeling confident regarding an upcoming appointment; if you need support, translation or just someone on your side, I will be able to help.
I am subject to professional and medical secrecy, so everything will stay absolutely confidential.
If you need another type of assistance that is not mentioned above, feel free to contact me so that we can discuss it.