Using Decision Aids
Decision aids are sometimes used to support shared decision-making. Decision aids are tools that help people become involved in decision making by providing information about the options and outcomes and by clarifying personal values. They can play a role by educating patients about unfamiliar treatments, educating them about the pros and cons of preference-sensitive decisions, helping them clarify values and preferences or helping them work through a difficult decision. Decision aids can take the form of pamphlets, videos, workbooks, worksheets, or web-based tools.
Decision aids have been developed and used far more widely for general health care than for mental health care. One of the better developed aids in mental health treatment is the computer based decision support tool for CommonGround. Clients use it in the waiting room before appointments. A supportive peer specialist is present to help them.
Aids such as forms or questionnaires can help patients prepare to take part in decision-making and use appointment time efficiently. Patients can use the downloadable checklist on this website to prepare by noting their symptoms, health status, self-help actions, short-term goals, and immediate needs. They can share the form with the doctor or use it to focus their thoughts during the appointment.
 Ottawa Hospital Research Institute: Pateint Decision Aids, http://decisionaid.ohri.ca/
 Shared Decision-making in Mental Health Care: Overview and Current Status. Celia E. Wills, Melody Reifer, Carole Schauer, and Paolo del Vecchio. In Shared Decision-Making in Mental Health Care: Practice, Research and Future Directions, p. 96. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2007