following are some simple steps for you to follow when you have a health
decision to make. Depending on the decision, the process may take a few
minutes, a few hours, or several weeks. Take as much time as you need to make
the decision that is right for you.
What are your choices?
Tell your doctor that you want to share in making the decision. Ask your doctor
to clearly state the decision that needs to be made and what your choices
Get the facts. Learn all about each
option by using resources like the library, your doctor, and reliable Web sites
you can trust. Make sure the information you collect is based on sound medical
research, not the results of a single study or facts published by a company
that will profit by your using its product.
What do you think? Consider your own needs and values and what you hope for as
the best possible outcome. Talk with family members and others who will be
affected by your decision. Then sort out the information you've gathered. Make
a list of pros and cons as you see them for each option. You may want to share
your list with your doctor to make sure you have all the information you
Try on a decision. Write down what you
expect will happen if you choose a particular option. Ask your doctor if what
you expect is reasonable. Ask again about the side effects, pain, recovery
time, cost, or long-term outcomes of that option. Then see if you still feel
it's the best choice for you.
Make an action plan. After you and your doctor have made a decision, find out what you
can do to make sure that you will have the best possible outcome. Write down
the steps that you need to take next. Think positively about your decision, and
do your part to ensure success by following your doctor's advice. Remember,
when you share in making a decision, you share the responsibility for the