Shared decision making

At East Cheshire NHS Trust we are committed to quality care that puts our patients at the heart of everything we do. As part of this person-centred approach, we support and encourage our patients to be actively involved in making decisions about their care.

Involving you

It is your right to be involved in making choices about your care. People often find they are happier with their care, and more likely to stick with any treatments or care plans, when they make decisions jointly with their health or care professional.

To make a decision, you need to know what your options are and what might happen if you don’t want any treatment or care. Your health or care professionals should explain what might work for you – some options may not be suitable.

You need to have information about the pros and cons of the options and this must be easy for you to understand.

Your health and care professionals need to know what matters to you – no two people are the same and they should listen carefully to your views and concerns.

You and your health or care professionals need time to talk through what you want to get out of any treatments or care and any worries or questions you may have.

Before you see your health or care professional

  • Write down any questions you want to ask.
  • Think about what you want to get out of your care. It could be things like improving symptoms, taking fewer medicines or staying independent.
  • Ask for an interpreter or other help to communicate if you need to.
  • Ask a friend or family member to come with you, if you like.

When you see your health or care professional

  • Ask if you need more information or you don't understand something.
  • Let them know if you need information in a different way, such as large print or easy read, or if you need someone to help you understand what is being said.
  • If you don't understand any words, ask for them to be written down and explained.
  • Write things down, or ask a friend or family member to take notes.
  • Check you know what should happen next, and when. Write it down.
  • Find out who to contact if you have any problems or questions.
  • Ask for copies of letters written about you - you are entitled to see these.

Involving other people

Family and carers should also be involved in decisions about your care if you want them to be. They should be given their own information and support.

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 discussion.

Patient decision aids

Patient decision aids are useful tools to help with shared decision making. Many tools are available to support a wide variety of conditions. To access the patient decision aids produced by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS RightCare and other producers click here.