Make decisions with your patients

8 May 2019
Spring 2019

Which elements are key to the process of shared decision-making between clinician and patient? Georgina Wintersgill reports.

Involving the patient in decisions about their care and treatment is a key part of the government’s vision of ‘No decision about me, without me’ and a keystone of the College’s Guidance for Professional Practice: “You must respect the rights of patients to be fully involved in decisions about their care” (C23).

Hospital optometrist Samara Hodi MCOptom says: “Gone are the days when a health professional tells a patient what to do and they go away and follow the advice without questioning it. Any treatment decision needs to be in partnership. There’s plenty of evidence that if you get good patient engagement, you’ll have a more successful outcome.”

Shared decision-making (SDM) is a collaborative process in which health professionals and patients work together to make choices about the patient’s treatment and care, based on clinical evidence and the patient’s informed preferences. It is relevant in any non-life-threatening clinical situation where a health or care decision is needed and a range of options is available. 

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