Traditionally people relied upon their Healthcare Professionals to make the decision regarding the most appropriate treatment for their condition. However as medicine has progressed and the range of treatment options has increased it is no longer always a decision based on the Healthcare Professionals preference only.
Patient decision aids are a useful tool when there is a decision to be made about medical advice from the Healthcare Professional but also incorporating the patients’ preferences and concerns.
In order to enable patients to reach a decision in partnership with their Healthcare Professional it is important that they have access to information about the different treatment options and have the opportunity to work through the information and evaluate the risks and benefits when viewed in conjunction with their personal values and preferences.
This patient decision aid assists patients to progress through it in an ordered fashion, having a number of distinct elements to the decision making process which support the patient in reaching a provisional decision which they can then discuss with their Healthcare Professional.
Firstly the aid provides information about Diabetes in order to facilitate better understanding of what is happening in the body as a result of this condition. The description is supported by an animation which demonstrates how the disease or condition progresses.
Treatment options for Diabetes are then displayed providing the patient with an explanation of each of the available treatment options which can be easily compared.
The third element of the decision aid then invites the patient to answer some questions which require him/her to consider what his or her values and preferences are regarding the treatment of their Diabetes , when considered alongside the consequences of each of the treatment options, for example are they happy to have an operation in order to treat the condition, and how much are the symptoms they experience upsetting them or interfering with their everyday activities?
Once the patient has considered these questions the preferences they have entered are displayed back to them in the order they have input and information regarding each of the preferences is displayed alongside it so that the patient can fully understand which of the treatment options is most likely to fulfil their preferences.
Finally they are presented with the information they have said is their preferred treatment option and they are encouraged to then discuss that with their Healthcare Professional so that an agreement can be reached and plans for the treatment made.