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Shared decision-making (NICE Guideline, 17 June 2021)

Some interesting topics in the new NICE shared decision-making guideline. This guideline covers how to make shared decision-making part of everyday care in all healthcare settings. It promotes ways for healthcare professionals and people using services to work together to make decisions about treatment and care. It includes recommendations on training, communicating risks, benefits and consequences, using decision aids, and how to embed shared decision-making in organisational culture and practices.

  • Offer people resources in their preferred format to help them understand what was discussed and agreed. This could be a printout summarising their diagnosis, the options and decisions or plans made and links to high-quality online resources. Ideally, give people this material to take away, or provide it very soon after the discussion.

  • Ensure that information provided after discussions include details of whom to contact with any further questions.

  • When writing clinical letters after a discussion, write them to the patient rather than to their healthcare professional, in line with Academy of Medical Royal Colleges' guidance on writing outpatient clinic letters to patients. Send a copy of the letter to the patient (unless they say they do not want a copy) and to the relevant healthcare professional.

  • Offer additional support to people who are likely to need extra help to engage in shared decision-making [See page 9]. This could include encouraging them to record the discussion, explaining in writing the decisions that have been made, or arranging follow-up by a clinical member of staff or a suitable alternative.

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