DOI: 10.1111/inm.13318 ISSN: 1445-8330

An audit and analysis of electro convulsive therapy patient information sheets used in local health districts in New South Wales Australia

Timothy Wand, Sophie Isobel, Holly Kemp
  • Pshychiatric Mental Health


Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a widely used psychiatric treatment; however, it remains contentious. It is therefore important that people are provided with accurate and balanced information before consenting to ECT. The aim of this study was to audit and analyse the content and language of ECT information sheets used in local health districts (LHDs) across the state of New South Wales Australia. Descriptive content analysis and evaluative linguistic analysis were used to investigate the information sheets, with findings then considered from a mad studies perspective. Thirteen ECT information sheets were obtained and reviewed, with the audit finding they lacked accuracy and balance. Linguistic tools were used to exaggerate positive outcomes and minimise negative effects. Despite commonalities, the structure and content of the sheets varied considerably. Findings indicate a need for co‐design and co‐production approaches to developing ECT information sheets. This should occur in genuine partnership with lived experience representatives based on current evidence, using neutral language, and with attention to their intent as part of processes of informed consent and decision making.

More from our Archive