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Shared decision making

What is shared decision making?

People find they are happier with their care and are more likely to stick with their treatment or care plans when they are jointly involved in making decisions with their health or care professional.

Shared decision making (SDM) assures an involved conversation from both yourself and your healthcare professional to discuss the pros and cons of each option, emphasising what matters to you based on your beliefs, concerns and expectations.

In order for you to make an informed and proactive choice for your treatment and care we recommend these steps:

Before you see your health and care professional

  • Write down any questions you want to ask

  • Think about what you want to get out of your care and goals for treatment - this could include improving symptoms, taking fewer medications or increasing your activity levels

  • Think about how you would see your time with your healthcare professional well spent

  • Support - ask for an interpreter or other help with communication, or you may wish for a family member/ friend to come with you

During your consultation

  • Ask if you need more information or if there is something you don’t understand

  • Tell your healthcare professional what you would like to speak to them about

  • Let them know if you need information in a different way such as large print, or if you need someone to help you understand what is being said

  • You can ask for written explanations if you are finding it difficult to understand medical words

  • Confirm what happens next and when

  • You can ask your health care professional for your results at any time and your GP has access to all your hospital records electronically

  • Write things down to help you remember what has been discussed

  • Find out who to contact if you have any questions or problems

Involving other people

  • Family and care givers can be involved in decisions about your care. They should be given their own information and support - please ask your healthcare professional for further information.

  • If you are under 16, a parent or someone with legal responsibility for you needs to agree to any treatment or care (give consent). Sometimes young people under 16 can give their own consent if it is clear that they fully understand what is involved. Even when parents give consent for you, you should still be involved in the discussions.

Please access and download the ‘Ask 3 questions’ form (below) to help prepare for your consultation.

If you are unable to access this in advance, you can ask for a copy when you attend your appointment (ask when you check in or during your consultation).