Client Pre-Treatment Screening Questionnaire

by Andrea Darby - Master Medical Tattooist & Industry Educator
Pre Treatment Questions

Many cosmetic Tattooists have told us that their basic training did not cover client pre-treatment screening very well, they dont know what questions to ask or what to advise the client if they answer yes to specific questions, we discuss this topic!

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Over the last couple of months we have had numerous requests from Cosmetic Tattooists from several countries asking us to provide an article relating to client/patient Pre-Treatment Questionnaires, from what we have been told it seems that this is a topic which has not been covered very well in many of the training programs.

The key areas of concern that Cosmetic Tattooists have raised with us are;

  • They do not really know what Pre-Treatment Questions they should be asking clients.

  • They feel there is lack of uniformity across the industry with Pre-Treatment Screening.

  • Some Cosmetic Tattooist have opted not to ask the client/patient any Pre-Treatment Questions believing that will absolve them of any responsibility.

  • Some questions that they have been taught to ask appear to have little rationale or relevance to Cosmetic Tattooing.

  • If a client answers yes to a Pre-Treatment Screening Question they don't know what they should do or how important the question is.

  • Sometimes clients/patients will attend for an appointment and the Pre-Treatment Screening Questionnaire will reveal information that prevents the treatment being provided until the client/patients doctor has been consulted. In that circumstance the Cosmetic Tattooist would have preferred that they were aware before booking out the appointment time.

  • They are unsure where their responsibility lies in regards to Pre-Treatment Screening.

This is quite complex topic and it is one that should be covered adequately within all training courses so that the Cosmetic Tattooist feels confident in their Pre-Treatment Screening.

Professional Responsibility

Laws differ from country to country and it is important to clarify with your own legal advisor and insurer exactly where the boundaries of your responsibility are, this article is not intended to be a guide to legal liability.

We will however comment that in most geographical locations the Cosmetic Tattooist will have a duty of care to ensure that treatments they provide do not knowingly expose the client/patient to unnecessary/excessive risk, and equally the client/patient has a responsibility to disclose any material facts that would reasonably affect the Cosmetic Tattooists decision to provide or withhold the treatment.

In non legal terms this means that we have a joint responsibility with the client to identify those matters that would expose the client/patient to the risk of an adverse outcome and also those matters which may place ourselves or others at risk.

Overwhelmingly Cosmetic Tattooists are not qualified health professionals and it is important that you do not attempt to take on the role or responsibility of a health professional if you do not posses formal qualifications. For this reason referral of the client/patients to their own doctor for further advice is always the best option if any doubt exists about a client/patients health status.

The Questionnaire

Your client documentation should include the following forms either in combination or individually;

  • Client/Patient Medical Questionnaire - the clients health disclosures
  • Client/Patient Treatment Information - the cosmetic tattooists disclosures about the treatment
  • Client/Patient Consent for Treatment - the clients written consent to have a specific treatment
  • Client/Patient Case Notes - the cosmetic tattooists notes about the client and the treatment for future reference

It is advisable to design your own documentation in consultation with your legal advisor, your insurer, and a health professional. It is important to note that no single series of documentation is going to be suitable for all technicians, in all locations, for all treatments, your documentation should be tailored to your own needs after obtaining professional advice.

In many countries there will be a minimum standard of documentation specified for the purposes of the applicable health acts and regulations, this is important so that health regulators can quickly identify those clients affected in the circumstances of a notifiable event.

Also many countries have health records acts and regulations that specify how health related documentation must be stored and protected.

Pre-Treatment Screening

At we have given a great deal of thought to how we can assist the industry with the various issues that were identified. Our thinking is that ideally the client would be in a position to inform the Cosmetic Tattooist either before their appointment or on arrival for their appointment about significant matters that may affect the decision to provide or not provide the treatment.

With the above in mind after a great deal of consultation we created an online Pre-Treatment Screening Questionnaire which has a series of straightforward Yes/No questions for each of the commonest types of treatments and the questionnaire provides the client some immediate feedback in relation to any "Yes" answers.

The Questionnaire has a priority hierarchy dividing the questions into 3 key areas of importance;

  1. Absolute Preclusion Questions - In most circumstances a yes answer would prevent a cosmetic tattoo service being provided until the clients circumstances change.
  2. Medical Advice / Contraindication Questions - In most circumstances a yes answer would mean that the client should seek advice from their medical practitioner before having a cosmetic tattoo treatment.
  3. Special Precautions Questions - There may be some special precautions required either before, during, or after the cosmetic tattoo treatment.

It is important to stress that our Pre-Treatment Screening Questionnaire is not intended to replace your standard client medical questionnaire documentation, the pre treatment interview by the cosmetic tattooist, nor to provide medical advice in any instance, and the form does not claim to cover any and all circumstances.

The form is provided merely as an adjunct to assist both the client and the Cosmetic Tattooist to focus on some of the more common areas and also to encourage your client/patient to seek medical advice before their appointment if a specific health issue is identified.


Click here to open the Pre-Treatment Screening Questionnaire


Date of most recent revision: 17/05/2013 (mutatis mutandis)
Original publication date: 17/05/2013

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