An online resource of international evidence-based decision aids is available to support a client to make a healthcare decision in conjunction with one or more health professionals.

The Patient Decision Aids resource has been developed by the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) in Canada and contains decision aids for specific conditions, such as dementia, continence and cancer.

It also includes other seniors’ health issues including long-term care and knowing when to stop driving as well as two personal guides designed for any health-related or social decision.

Director of OHRI’s Patient Decision Aids Research Group, Professor Dawn Stacey gave a presentation at the recent National Dementia Research & Knowledge Translation Forum on shared decision-making where she urged delegates to utilise the resource.

Professor Stacey said patient decision aids, along with decision coaching, were tools that could help improve health literacy and facilitate shared decision-making by:

  • making explicit the decision
  • enhancing understanding
  • guiding patients/family to use health information for making health decisions

She said decision aids informed a user by providing facts on the condition, options, benefits, harms and probabilities. They clarified values by asking which benefits or harms mattered most and shared other patient experiences, and then provided support by deliberately stepping the user through the process with the aid of worksheets and a list of questions.

It is possible to search for a decision aid using keywords or browse an alphabetical listing to find an aid to meet a specific need. The A to Z listing contains up-to-date and available decision aids meeting a minimal set of criteria, according to the site.

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