Shared decision-making in stroke: an evolving approach to improved patient care

Shared decision-making in stroke: an evolving approach to improved patient care

Author: Armstrong (SVN BMJ)

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Shared decision-making (SDM) occurs when patients, families and clinicians consider patients’ values and preferences alongside the best medical evidence and partner to make the best decision for a given patient in a specific scenario. SDM is increasingly promoted within Western contexts and is also being explored outside such settings, including in China. SDM and tools to promote SDM can improve patients’ knowledge/understanding, participation in the decision-making process, satisfaction and trust in the healthcare team. SDM has also proposed long-term benefits to patients, clinicians, organisations and healthcare systems. To successfully perform SDM, clinicians must know their patients’ values and goals and the evidence underlying different diagnostic and treatment options. This is relevant for decisions throughout stroke care, from thrombolysis to goals of care, diagnostic assessments, rehabilitation strategies, and secondary stroke prevention. Various physician, patient, family, cultural and system barriers to SDM exist. Strategies to overcome these barriers and facilitate SDM include clinician motivation, patient participation, adequate time and tools to support the process, such as decision aids. Although research about SDM in stroke care is lacking, decision aids are available for select decisions, such as anticoagulation for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation. Future research is needed regarding both cultural aspects of successful SDM and application of SDM to stroke-specific contexts.

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