Making decisions about your care with your doctor or nurse (shared decision making)
When you visit your doctor’s surgery you will often find that there are decisions to be made about your health and the treatments that might be available to you. This includes when you are choosing between different types of treatment or different ways of managing any condition(s) you have. When these decisions are made it is important that you are part of that process, so that you are able to come to the best decisions based on what is important to you.
Shared Decision Making
Your doctor/nurse is an expert about health and health care. You are an expert in knowing about yourself, the impact that any conditions have on you, and what is important to you in treating your condition and in your wider life. When you and your doctor/nurse work together to share what you both know, and then use all of that information to come to a decision together, this is called ‘Shared Decision Making’.
How to get involved
In order for you to be involved in decisions about your care there are three key things you need to know:
- What are my options?
- What are the possible risks, benefits and consequences of each option?
- How can we make a decision together that is right for me?
With shared decision making your doctor/nurse is there to support you by providing good quality information, helping you understand this information, and giving you support and guidance as you think about what is most important to you. This will help you to understand what choices are available to you, the pros and cons of each option, and then use that information to come to a decision together about the best option for you.
If you would like to know more about Shared Decision Making the following video provides further information.
Patient Decision Aids
Patient Decision Aids (PDAs) are designed to help you decide which treatments and care options are best for you.
PDAs are useful because they allow you to pick out the things that are most important to you (your values) and make comparisons about how different treatments might affect these values. PDAs have been developed for a number of common health care decisions and your doctor/nurse may use one or refer you on to one when you talk with them, or you might find it useful to look at one by yourself. If you would like to know more about patient decision aids and look at some of the patient decision aids that are publicly available, the following websites are available:
Decision aids developed in the UK
Decision aids developed internationally
An international inventory of decision aids
Decision aids developed in the Mayo Clinic, USA
If you are looking for information about the risk of cardio vascular disease or Type 2 diabetes and ways in which those risks can be reduced these sites contains some useful information:
The Absolute CVD Risk/Benefit Calculator
If you are looking for more general information about your health or health conditions then the NHS Choices website contains good quality information.