Decision Aid Tools

Commonly at decision points along a care pathway there is not a simple choice to be made; rather a number of treatment options are considered. For clinicians clinical guidelines identify, summarise and evaluate the highest quality evidence to support decision making. If patients are to be actively engaged in this process, they need clear comprehensible information on the condition, and the treatment options- outlining outcomes, risks and uncertainties in a clear unbiased form.

Decision aids provide this, they may take a variety of forms- including one page sheets outlining choices, more detailed leaflets and computer programmes to DVDs and interactive web-sites.

The key distinguishing feature of these from traditional patient information leaflets is they do not tell people what to do. Use of decision aids provides the facts and enables patients to deliberate about the options, so ensures the patients knowledge and preferences of each of the options are taken into account.

Use of PDAs been found to provide:-

  • greater knowledge
  • more accurate risk perceptions
  • greater comfort with decisions
  • greater participation in decision-making
  • fewer people remaining undecided
  • no increase in anxiety
  • fewer patients choosing major surgery

Adapted from – (Making Shared Decision-Making a Reality. Angela Coulter and Alf Collins 2011)


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