Respecting Choices

Shared Decision Making in Serious Illness

The complete Respecting Choices model includes both advance care planning and shared decision making in serious illness programs.

The role of the provider in assisting individuals to make ongoing treatment decisions that align with their goals and values is a critical element of person-centered decision-making.

The Shared Decision Making in Serious Illness (SDMSI) Curriculum is intended for physicians and advanced practitioners caring for patients with serious illness and their families. Through discussion, video examples, and role-play application using a semi-structured conversation guide, participants will learn to:

  1. Define the elements of shared decision making and its benefits for patients with serious illness.
  2. Describe the relationship between advance care planning and shared decision making.
  3. Demonstrate communication skills that impact person-centered conversations.
  4. Demonstrate skills to discern what matters most to patients with serious illness.
  5. Demonstrate skills to align care with what matters most to patients.
  6. Participate in activities to integrate the skills for shared decision-making.
  7. Apply organizational practices to document the elements of shared decision-making conversations.

Benefits to Patients, Providers, and Healthcare System

  • Improves providers’ skills to assist patients with serious illness reflect on their goals and values when navigating treatment decisions, ensuring timely and appropriate referrals that serve to safeguard patients’ decisions are respected.
  • Improves communication and documentation of a patient’s goals of care and rationale for treatment decisions, providing direction for all members of the patient’s care team to use in delivering person-centered care.
  • Decreases moral distress and uncertainty when caring for patients with serious illness, as patient goals of care are identified and used to provide direction for care and treatment.
  • Elevates the importance of using existing Advance Care Plans in supporting current treatment decisions.
  • Improves patient and family satisfaction with physician/provider communication and person-centered care.

SDMSI Program Flyer

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Comments from Past Participants of the SDMSI Course


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