drawing of classroom meeting Module 2 – Unit 5:  Exploring the Topic

Involving Patients in Choosing Treatment Options

Think About It   How much choice do doctors in your country give patients in terms of the treatment they get? Do doctors encourage patients to make their own choices or do they tell patients what they should do?

In the U.S., there is a growing trend among health care professionals to involve patients in the planning of their treatment as much as possible. Some conventional practitioners prefer to keep more control of treatment planning. List the advantages and disadvantages of involving patients in decisions about their own treatment.



  • Patients are more likely to follow the treatment plan.
  • Patients may not choose the most effective treatment.

The flow chart below shows the key steps health care professionals can follow to involve patients in the development of a treatment plan. Complete the chart using the words and phrases in the box below. Use each only once. Then think of an example of what the health professional might say to the patient in each step.

affect his or her lifestyle

already knows


describe and compare

modifying the treatment plan

offer a suggestion

the patient’s choice

Helping Patients Choose among Treatment Options

Assess what the patient ______________________________about his or her condition and treatments.

Describe the illness or condition.

_______________________________ the treatment choices (including no treatment).

risks vs. _________________________________


Express an opinion about the treatment choices and __________________________.

Explore with the patient how treatment options may ______________ and personal needs.

Support ___________________.

Reassure the patient that he or she may discuss _______________________________ ______________________ at any time.

Adapted from: “Treatment choice is ultimately the patient's.” American Medical News, Ethics Forum. Oct. 4, 2004.

 http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2004/10/04/prca1004.htm. Retrieved 1/15/05