June 1, 2010

What is a Medical Decision Aid?

The Medical Decision Aid is one of the primary tools used in the LiSM Way Linear Services Medical Model. 

A Medical Decision Aid (MDA) is used for preparing clients/patients for decision making about options.  MDAs are never to replace counseling a client/patient. Rather they are meant to supplement and enhance the counseling process.

MDAs are about helping clients/patients to identify their problems and possible solutions and outcomes. In the Pregnancy Medical Clinic setting, MDAs are used to help women make specific and deliberative choices about their unplanned pregnancy.

The MDA tool introduced at the LiSM Way workshop uses a framework that  helps to identify “Decisional Conflict” (you’ll learn more about this at the workshop).  It addresses the perception of the decision (e.g. inadequate knowledge, unrealistic expectation of outcomes, unclear values, high uncertainty) and personal/external resources needed to make the decision.

MDA’s focus on addressing the client/patients’ problems by providing accurate, balanced and tailored information, clarifying client/patients’ values and augmenting skills in shared (e.g. parents, partner,) decision making.

When are MDAs Used in Other Medical Situations?
Decision aids in general have been developed for a wide variety of medical purposes such as medical therapies, diagnostic tests, preventative therapies, and clinical trial decisions.

Do MDAs Improve Decisions?
Decision aids have been around for over 10 years. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monograph no 25., 1999 p 67-80, shows that decision aids improved decision making by:
– reducing the number of patients who are uncertain about what to do;
– increasing patients’ knowledge of the problem, option, and outcomes;
– creating realistic personal expectations of outcomes;
– improving the agreement between choices and patients’ values;
– reducing decisional conflict and the factors contributing to decisional conflict such as feeling informed, clear about values, and supported in decision making; and
– increasing participation in decision making without adversely affecting anxiety.

We are developing strategies for using MDAs with partners and key family members as well.

At a LiSM Way workshop, you will learn how to use a MDA and Nursing Care Plans customized for the PMC setting.

Click here for more information on LiSM Way workshops


Posted by Beth Chase at 5/31/2010 7:13 PM | Add Comment

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