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Primary careSep 6, 2022

Innovative approach to decision-making is 'empowering' for patients and clinicians, says FCP physio

Physiotherapist Jehan Yehia has praised an ‘empowering’ approach to decision-making, in which practitioners and patients have ‘authentic conversations’.

Ms Yehia, a first contact practitioner (FCP) lead who also acts as an ambassador on behalf of the Personalised Care Institute (PCI), said: ‘Discussions around what is important to a patient, as well as giving the patient all available options is really empowering for you as a clinician as well as the patient.

‘Being able to then offer your clinical opinion after you have discussed the options removes all the bias on what you would like to happen and opens up an authentic conversation. These components can really help patients and clinicians to align their plans, taking away any unsaid expectations.'

Ms Yehia recommended the PCI’s shared decision-making training module to fellow physios and other FCPs, saying it reinforces the importance of presenting all the options to patients – including that of ‘doing nothing’.

Physiotherapist Jehan Yehia acts as an ambassador for the Personalised Care Institute

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More patients want to be involved

The PCI is urging healthcare professionals to refresh their shared decision-making knowledge after this year’s GP Patient Survey revealed that many people want more involvement in decisions relating to their care. More than 700,000 patients took part in the annual survey.

About four patients in 10 (44.6 per cent) who completed the survey said they would like to be more involved than they currently are –  the highest proportion since the question was first posed in 2018. The proportion of patients who said they were ‘not at all’ involved in decisions about their care also reached a record level, rising significantly from 7.1 in 2021 to 10.1 per cent this year. 

The PCI said that research had consistently shown that shared decision-making leads to better patient-clinician relationships, improved adherence to advice, reduced treatment regret and increased satisfaction with the outcome See: https://www.england.nhs.uk/shared-decision-making/about/

Being able to then offer your clinical opinion after you have discussed the options removes all the bias on what you would like to happen and opens up an authentic conversation [Jehan Yehia]

Growing divide?

While clinicians might be familiar with the principles of the approach, there appears to be a ‘growing gap’ between what patients want and what clinicians believe they want, the PCI suggested.

The PCI, the official body for personalised care training, is encouraging healthcare professionals to complete its free 30-minute eLearning refresher or even attend one of the face-to-face courses it accredits. Nine healthcare professionals in 10 who followed the eLearning course said it would improve their daily practise, while eight in 10 ten 'strongly agreed' that it helped to develop their current skills. 

The PCI refresher module includes sections on

  • decision aids
  • risk and consent, and
  • offers case studies to bring the learning to life 

Free training option

Emma Hyde, the PCIs’s clinical director, said: ‘The world is constantly changing to give people more choice and control over their lives – and this is especially the case in health care.'

Dr Hyde added: ‘As healthcare professionals, we are well-versed in the principles of shared decision making, however pressures of time coupled with changes in patient expectations have created a growing perception gap between what patients truly want and what we often believe they want.

‘Our free SDM refresher module takes just 30 minutes to complete and provides a convenient way to revisit the topic and expand knowledge. Developed and peer-reviewed by national subject leaders, we hope that this training will empower healthcare professionals with the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage patients to the level they want, in order to achieve best outcomes.’

Patient's view

Patient Stephen Lupton endorsed the approach: ‘Shared decision-making helped the side-effects I’d been having become more manageable. It empowered me to take greater control of my mental health and build an incredibly trusting relationship with my consultant.'

The PCI’s free, 30-minute shared decision-making eLearning module, can be accessed here: https://www.personalisedcareinstitute.org.uk/sdm 

A list of PCI accredited courses can be found here: https://www.personalisedcareinstitute.org.uk/accredited-training/ 

To find out more about the NHS GP Patient Survey, visit: https://www.gp-patient.co.uk/surveysandreports#

Author: Ian A McMillan
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