Offering a chaperone?
The relationship between a patient and healthcare professionals is based on trust. A practitioner may have no doubts about a patient they have known for a long time and feel it is not necessary to offer a formal chaperone. However this should not detract from the fact that any patient is entitled to a chaperone if they feel one is required.
It is good practice to offer all patients a chaperone of the same sex for any examination or procedure. If the patient is offered and does not want a chaperone it is important to record that the offer was made and declined.
Staff should be aware that intimate examinations might cause anxiety for both male and female patients whether or not the examiner is of the same gender.
If a chaperone is refused, a healthcare professional cannot usually insist that one is present. However, there may be cases where the practitioner may feel unhappy to proceed, for example where there is a significant risk of the patient displaying unpredictable behaviour, or making false accusations. In this case, the practitioner must make his/her own decision and carefully document this with the details of any procedure undertaken.