Shared Decision-Making Encouraged in Multiple Sclerosis

Happy and recovered patient sitting on a wheelchair and saying goodbye to his doctor while leaving the hospital

June 23, 2017 (HealthDay News)

Shared decision-making includes engaging patients, comparing treatments, assessing patient values

FRIDAY, June 23, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Patients should be engaged in decision-making about multiple sclerosis (MS) and the treatment options available, according to a report published online May 29 in Practical Neurology.

Amy Perrin Ross, A.P.N., from the Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill., addressed shared decision-making in patients with MS.

Ross notes that multiple treatment options are available for MS, and they come with distinct mechanisms of action. Given the complexity and variability of MS, matching an ideal treatment to an individual patient can be challenging. Physicians should review and educate patients about the available options, listen to patients and learn about their values and preferences, and take these into account when considering optimal treatment. The five steps of shared decision-making include engaging patients, exploring and comparing treatments, assessing patient values and preferences, reaching a treatment decision with the patient, and assessing the patient decision. As new therapies are coming out all the time, the education process should be ongoing.

“It is the clinician’s responsibility to help patients understand the nuances of their disease and treatments,” Ross writes. “The more patients are involved in shared decision-making, the more likely they will be adherent to the therapy and lifestyle recommendations we might be making for them.”

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