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Engaging older people in decisions about their healthcare: the case for shared decision making

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2012

Joanne Lally*
Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Hospitals Trust
Ellen Tullo
Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University, UK
Address for correspondence: Dr Joanne Lally, SDM Programme Lead, Clinical Governance and Risk Department, 3rd Floor, Peacock Hall, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP. Email:


Shared decision making in clinical practice involves both the healthcare professional, an expert in the clinical condition and the patient who is an expert in what is important to them. A consultation involving shared decision making enables an examination of the options available, consideration of the risks and benefits whilst incorporating the values of the patient into the decision making process. A decision is aimed at, which is both clinically appropriate and is congruent with the patient's values.

Older people have been shown to value involvement, to varying degrees, in decisions about their care and treatment. The case of atrial fibrillation shows the opportunities for, and benefits of, sharing with older people decision making about their healthcare.

Clinical geriatrics
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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