Capacity for Consent

Sexuality is an integral factor when considering quality of life. The need for intimacy is timeless and this includes more than just sex. A physical touch, hug or handhold, can provide many positive elements to one’s health and relationships. Studies demonstrate the positive impact of touch and other forms of physical  intimacy. As with anything else, where there are benefits, there are also risks and maintaining safety is paramount.

Recognizing that this basic human need does not end with the aging process or in the face of different/changing physical or cognitive abilities, it is important for the care team members to be able to assess the individual for the capacity to consent. As patient advocates, case managers have a responsibility to promote patients’ rights to sexual expression, but also to protect patients when impairments interfere with the ability to make informed decisions.

Striving to promote client self-advocacy, independence, and self-determination, and the provision of client-centered and culturally-appropriate care in alignment with the CMSA Standards of Practice; this presentation focuses on the benefits of promotion of autonomy and provision of safety for potentially at-risk populations through identification and review of evidence-based assessment tools.

Learner Outcomes:

At the end of the presentation, the learner will be able to:

  • Explore the concept of sexuality as a basic human need through societal attitudes towards sexuality and aging or differently-abled populations.
  • Identify and discuss topics related to sexuality and safety including ethical and legal issues along with consent issues related to decisional capacity in potentially at-risk populations or medical limitations.
  • Review assessment tools available to aid the case manager in advocating for the patient/client.

This content will apply to the following Ethical Principles (Commission for Case Manager Certification 2015) Principles.  Board certified Case Managers will:

  • Principle 2 respect the rights and inherent dignity of all of their clients.
  • Principle 4 act with integrity and fidelity with clients and others.

This content will apply to the following Ethical Principles and Standards from the Code of Ethics (National Association of Social Workers, 2017). 

    • Ethical Principles:
      • Service 
      • Dignity and Worth of the Person
      • Integrity
      • Competence
    • Ethical Standards:
      • 1: Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibility to Clients
        • 1.01 Commitment to clients
        • 1.02 Self-determination
        • 1.05 Cultural Awareness and Diversity
        • 1.06 Conflicts of Interest
        • 1.07 Privacy and Confidentiality


Colleen MorleyColleen Morley DNP, RN, CMCN ACM-RN is the Director of Case Management Services for West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, IL and Westlake Hospital in Melrose Park, IL under the Tenet System.

Colleen has over 19 years of nursing experience. Her clinical specialties include Med/Surg, Oncology and Pediatric Nursing.  Her passions in nursing include the promotion of professional development and continuing education and studying the readmission issue to develop solution programs.

She is active with CMSA Chicago; currently serving as President-Elect for 2017-19 and has been on several national-level committees for CMSA (Education, Awards), ACMA (Membership) and AAMCN (Education and Membership). Additionally, she currently holds the position of Director on the ANA-IL Board of Directors, serving as Legislative Committee Chair and PAC Trustee.