21 April 2021

My Choices booklet for shared decision-making

Clinical Patient story

Bowel Cancer Australia has just published My Choices, a user-friendly booklet designed to support patients as they face an overwhelming range of decisions, many of which are preference sensitive.

Developed with patients, loved ones and healthcare professionals, My Choices aims to help prepare patients to communicate effectively with clinicians about their preferences, needs and goals, and actively participate in shared decision making about their treatment.  

Shared Decision Making (SDM) is a collaborative process that patients and clinicians can use to make healthcare decisions about tests, treatments, and care plans. 

Informed by clinical evidence on the risks and benefits associated with treatment options and a patient’s preferences, values, and goals, SDM is an essential component of patient-centred care.

“Research shows patients who engage in shared decision making are more likely to be engaged in their care and adhere to care plans because they better understand their condition,” said bowel care nurse Fiona Radford. 

“They better understand the pros and cons and risks and benefits of their treatment options, are prepared to have an informed discussion with their oncologist and are more likely to take ownership of decisions.”

“When I was first diagnosed with metastatic bowel cancer, the whole cancer field was new and raw to me,” said Alisanne Ride. 

“In appointments with my specialist, I often missed information or didn’t understand it, but over time, I refined my participation to take on a more active rather than passive role in decision-making about my treatment.” 

Mrs Ride contributed extensively to the development of the My Choices booklet until her death in 2020 due to the disease.

My Choices assists patients in understanding the broad phases of their care experience and key decision points. Patients are encouraged to think through their personal preferences (goals, expectations, needs) ahead of their treatment planning visit and consider other goals and needs that may need to be discussed with their family and care team. 

My Choices has been designed to help patients organise relevant information and define their options, as they face physical and emotional challenges and changes, and is filled with information and tools to help patients ask the right questions, so they can make informed decisions that align with what matters most to them. 

As patients undergo treatment, decisions may become more complex, the opinions they seek may evolve, and their own priorities may shift. My Choices can assist patients in navigating their way through that process. 

My Choices is available as a free PDF download from the Bowel Cancer Australia website (bit.ly/3bZS6Ss) or hard copies can be ordered online at bowelcanceraustralia.org or by calling 1800 555 494.