Permission form synopses to improve parents' understanding of research: a randomized trial

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We hypothesized that, among parents of potential neonatal research subjects, an accompanying cover sheet added to the permission form (intervention) would increase understanding of the research, when compared to a standard form (control).


This pilot study enrolled parents approached for one of two index studies: one randomized trial and one observational study. A one-page cover sheet described critical study information. Families were randomized 1:1 to receive the cover sheet or not. Objective and subjective understanding and satisfaction were measured.


Thirty-two parents completed all measures (17 control, 15 intervention). There were no differences in comprehension score (16.8 ± 5.7 vs 16.3 ± 3.5), subjective understanding (median 6 vs 6.5), or overall satisfaction with consent (median 7 vs 6.5) between control and intervention groups (all P>0.50).


A simplified permission form cover sheet had no effect on parents' understanding of studies for which their newborns were being recruited.

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