Module Four

Decision making

This module will show you how to pull together all the evidence you have, balance that with your goals and values, and help to make a good, informed decision about the use or non use of complementary medicine.

What does a "good decision" look like?

A good decision is an informed decision that incorporates the available evidence, clinical judgement and experience from health care providers, your own beliefs and values, your goals (why you are making this decision), and input from your social network.

What does an "informed" decision look like?

An informed decision requires:

  • Knowing your goals for using complementary medicine.
  • Knowing the benefits and risks of each choice.
  • Knowing which benefits and risks matter most to you.
  • Having the support and advice of reliable support persons (network of friends and health care providers).

Let's look at how to bring all the elements of informed decision making together to ensure you have made the best choice.

Reaching a decision

There are many techniques that can be used to help in reaching a decision. It can be very helpful to use a guideline or a framework to analyse a decision and to ensure you have thought of everything that is important to you. The SCOPED framework   (opens in a new window) developed by Dr. Balkora.

SCOPED stands for:
Situation, Choices, Objectives, People, Evaluation, Decision

  • Situation: clarifying the facts about my conditions.
  • Choices: clarifying my options.
  • Objectives: clarifying what my goals are.
  • People: who can support me in this decision, and what are their roles and responsibilities?
  • Evaluation: how do my choices affect my objectives?
  • Decisions: what is my best option? How do I move forward with this?

We will use an example with "Mary" and "Peter" to describe and illustrate each of these steps.

Mary's story

Mary is a 74-year-old grandmother who has had an active lifestyle looking after her grandchildren, playing bowls and participating in 5km walks with her walking group. However, over recent years she has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The pain is becoming progressively worse, affecting her ability to get around and continue with her activities. She has slightly raised blood pressure. To help manage the pain from her knee osteoarthritis she has tried several pain medications however she has experienced some side effects. Her doctor has advised her that a knee replacement may be an option in the future. Find out more...

Peter's Story

Peter is aged 67. He is married, has two sons and three grandchildren. He has recently retired from a long and demanding career in teaching. Over recent years he was diagnosed with mild to moderate depression. He consulted with his general practitioner who prescribed an anti-depressant called Prozac or fluoxetine. His depression is quite well managed; he will have months of no depression and then all of a sudden symptoms re-appear. Last year he developed a blood clot in his leg, and was prescribed a blood thinner or anti-coagulant called Warfarin. He is now retired and has more time on his hands. Peter is keen to focus on improving his health and is considering other ways to manage his depression and stabilise his mood. Find out more...