New resources to support shared decision making in HIV care

Selina Corkery
Published: 21 May 2013

There’s been lots of interest recently in the concept of shared decision making – and there’s plenty of evidence that people who are actively involved in decisions about their health care see the benefits. When people are well informed and engage with choosing and planning their care both patients and health services benefit.

Our new range of interactive tools (www.aidsmap.com/apps) aims to empower people living with HIV to get involved in their health care, at key times including:

Shared decision making

The shared decision making process makes sure a patient’s knowledge of how a health condition affects their daily life, their values, preferences and personal attitude to risk, are taken into account alongside clinical expertise when making decisions about treatment and care options.

Here at NAM, we’ve always believed in the importance of people with HIV being able to take control of their lives and their health care, in order to live longer, healthier and happier lives. Through the provision of independent, clear and accurate information, we arm people living with HIV with the latest evidence to help them better understand and manage their HIV treatment, look after their health, and discuss their care constructively with anyone involved in it.

In addition to examining the latest news and opinion on treatment, care and other HIV-related issues, we also spend time thinking about how to present our information – we know that the way our resources look, how people find them, and how easy they are to use and understand, are just as important to making information useful as the actual content.

Shared decision making principles provide a useful framework for thinking differently about our information resources. There’s still a strong emphasis on basing information on the best-possible scientific and medical evidence – something NAM has always championed. But it’s just as important to take account of people’s individual circumstances and preferences. It’s unusual in any branch of health care for there to be one simple choice that will work equally well for everyone. That’s certainly true in HIV treatment and care. And even where there is strong clinical evidence for the benefit of a particular course of action, that doesn’t mean it will suit everyone. 

New range of online tools

This way of thinking has resulted in some new NAM resources. We’ve worked closely with clinicians and people with HIV to develop a range of interactive tools looking at key points in people’s HIV ‘journey’. For example, do I need to start treatment? And do I feel ready to start treatment? Or, how do I have a healthy baby?

By asking you for information specific to your situation, these tools can help you think through choices and see the options available to you. By providing tailored information, they’re a great starting point for thinking through your choices. Or you could use them to prepare for discussing an issue with your doctor. They can help you make the best use of your appointment and help you contribute to any discussion about your care.

Visit www.aidsmap.com/apps to see what’s available and give shared decision making a go!

For more information

You can find out more about shared decision making on the Patient Information Forum website at www.pifonline.org.uk/topics-index/supporting/shared-decision-making/

We’re always keen to hear your views so please do let us know what you think of any or all of the new resources. You can contact us on 020 7837 6988 or email info@nam.org.uk.

New resources to support shared decision making in HIV care

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