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Decision-Making Help

The Center for Shared Decision Making opened in 1999 as the first center in the United States dedicated to encouraging doctors and patients to make decisions together.

At some point in life, most people face health care decisions affecting themselves or their families. Some health care decisions are easy. Others are not. Often, there is more than one choice, and each will have its own risks and benefits. The "right" choice depends on what is important to you. We can help.

What Is Shared Decision Making?

Shared decision making is the collaboration between patients and caregivers to come to an agreement about a health care decision. It is especially useful when there is no clear "best" treatment option.

Our Services

Decision Support Counseling

Our health coaches do not give medical advice. We support you in making your health care decisions by helping you consider your choices in light of your personal goals, values and what is most important to you. You and your health coach may use a tool called the Ottawa Personal Decision Guide© to assist in this process.

Decision Aids

Patient decision aids are educational tools that give you information about your options and encourage you to think about what is important to you as you make your healthcare choices. These web based or paper tools may be used before, during or after your medical appointment. We automatically provide these before certain visits to help you prepare for the discussion with your doctor. A decision aid can also be requested after your visit by either your provider or you can request one yourself.

Patient Support Corps

Our PSC volunteers and staff can help you organize your questions and concerns before your appointment so you won't leave your appointment feeling frustrated that you forgot to ask questions that were keeping you up at night. They can also accompany you to your appointment to take notes and, with permission from all present, audio record the visit so you can concentrate on the conversation.

Advance Care Planning Conversations

Our trained facilitators can help you think about your goals for care at the end of life, who you'd like to speak for you should the time come when you can no longer make your own medical decisions and help you complete Advance Directive documents.

What do our services cost?

Our services are free. The Center is supported by Dartmouth-Hitchcock and grant funding to help meet the D-H mission of providing the best care, in the right place, at the right time, every time.

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