Terminally ill patients and their families are faced with difficult decisions. These complex issues at end of life require effective and accurate communication from healthcare providers so that informed decisions can be made by patients and their family members. Positive end-of-life experiences are more likely to be achieved when the decision-making process is shared with providers and is based on scientific evidence.
Shared decision-making is Shared Decision-Making (SDM) refers to healthcare providers (HCP) and patients making decisions together using the best available evidence.1 Through collaboration with their HCPs, patients and families are encouraged to consider all available screening, treatment, or management options and the likely benefits and harms of each, to communicate their preferences, and help select the course of action that best fits. Although many HCPs believe they already use shared decision making, research shows a gap between perception and reality.1-2 This module discusses the significance of shared decision making in healthcare, the essential components, and challenges to successful application of SDM in practice. Currently available SDM models that HCPs can utilize as a key element of patient-centered care in a variety of critical decision-making situations are explained. How to best implement the SDM models and timing, as well as recommendations for further development of SDM are explored.