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Shared Decision Making

Shared decision making is when health professionals and patients work together. This puts people at the centre of decisions about their own treatment and care. During shared decision making, it’s important that:

  • Care or treatment options are fully explored, along with their risks and benefits with the patient
  • Different choices available to the patient are discussed
  • A decision is reached together with a health and social care professional and with the patient.

  • Benefits of shared decision making

    Benefits of shared decision making

    • Both people receiving and delivering care can understand what's important to the other person
    • People feel supported and empowered to make informed choices and reach a shared decision about care
    • Health and social care professionals can tailor the care or treatment to the needs of the individual.
  • We support shared decision making through our guidance and tools

    We support shared decision making through our guidance and tools

    • The care and support you receive should take into account your needs and preferences
    • You have the right to be involved in discussions, and make decisions about your treatment and care, together with your health or care professional
    • Patient decision aids support conversations and help patients make informed choices. We've developed several tools to support shared decision making for specific conditions.
    • Read more about making decisions about your care.


    For people delivering care:

    National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has updated all of its guidelines to highlight the importance of balancing professional judgment and expertise with the needs and wishes of people receiving care. 

  • Patient decision aids

    Patient decision aids

     For more information:

  • What Matters Most: Advance Care Planning

    What Matters Most: Advance Care Planning

    Asking ourselves 'What matters to me?' helps us plan for the future. Our answers could be about family, jobs, holidays, education, where we live, what we eat, what we love to do... the list is long.

    Knowing what matters can play a huge part in helping to make our lives enjoyable and worthwhile. 'What matters to me?' is still important at the very end of our lives, too. For most of us that's a long time away. But it's never too early to talk to our family and friends about 'What matters.'

    Sharing with others helps to make sure that any help or care we might need in the future, when we’re ill or facing difficulties, matches up with our preferences. It can help our family and friends to support us in our choices.

    Establishing what matters most to people is desperately important. Planning ahead isn’t just about care preferences, it’s about making the most of life. It’s also not just a hurried conversation in a moment of crisis, but a series of life-affirming discussions.

    By being clear about the things that matter most, we give ourselves a better chance of ensuring that our wishes are respected and grieving loved ones aren’t left feeling unsure about what the person would have wanted. It’s often the simplest things that are most important, like having a pet to cuddle, listening to favourite music, holding hands, or watching the world outside the window.

    We are proud to be supporting a new charter and movement, working in partnership with St Richards, Marie Curie and other community organisations to make sure that care is better focussed around supporting what makes life good for the individual.

    That’s why we’re encouraging everybody, young and old, healthy or not, to start their ‘What Matters to Me’ conversations.

    You can find a range of free resources and films for your GP practice, community health organisations to help with  What Matters conversations  here.

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