The Trust is committed to constantly improving the quality of
care that our patients receive. As part of this commitment, we're
helping you to understand the treatment options that may be
available to you to better treat your health condition.
Making decisions together is often termed Shared Decision
Making. This allows you, the patient, to be an equal partner in
your health care, working with your doctor or nurse to make an
informed decision about your treatment. Shared Decision Making is
appropriate if more than one treatment option exists, for example,
choosing between different types of treatment or different ways of
managing your condition. The right option for you depends on what
is important to you.
While clinicians may be treatment experts, you, as the patient,
are 'an expert in yourself'. When you visit our hospitals for your
appointment, always remember to 'Ask 3 questions':
Is this something you can consider for a while or do decisions
need to be made as a matter of urgency? Not all options will be
available to all patients. This depends on your medical history and
other problems you may have. So ask about options specifically for
All treatments have pros and cons and it is important that you
understand these when making a decision.
You need to consider how the different treatments and their side
effects will affect what is important to you and your family. The
healthcare professional will be able to advise you of the
treatments available but may not be aware of your preferences or
specifically the options most likely to meet your preferences. It
is therefore important that you come to a decision together.
Your appointment invitation letter will provide you with
information about what Shared Decision Making is and point you in
the direction of further support information. You will also see the
introduction of information leaflets and posters in waiting areas
and details on our website, and may be asked to complete feedback
surveys about your involvement during your
The Trust is introducing Shared Decision Making in a stepped
approach across a number of specialities. Resources include Patient
Decision Aids (PDAs), which are designed to help patients make
decisions about the care, treatment and medical tests. They are
online tools that inform patients which treatment and care options
are available and can be used to help patients to make a decision
on which is the best treatment option for them.
The following PDAs have been approved for use within County
Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust:
Coronary Heart Disease
Brief decision aids (BDAs) are short, paper based information
sheets about common conditions. They are designed to help patients
make decisions about their treatments and other medical test that
can be easily printed from the website.
NHS Choices http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx
NHS Direct www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk
British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk
Arrhythmia Alliance www.arrhythmiaalliance.org.uk
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham