Decision-making in nephrology: shared decision making?

Patient Educ Couns. 2000 Jan;39(1):81-9. doi: 10.1016/s0738-3991(99)00093-2.


Shared decision-making is considered an important ideal for physician-patient interaction. The ideal states that health-related values should be discussed together. It raises two questions: (a) for which decisions is the ideal of shared decision-making relevant? (b) Which aspects of treatment should be discussed? The nephrological practice under consideration in this article answers question (a) as follows: decisions about the type of dialysis are shared decisions, while decisions about the moment to start dialysis are medical decisions that should be taken by nephrologists. This situation can be criticized as important health-related values play a role in decisions about starting dialysis. Question (b) is answered in the nephrological practice under consideration by discussing at least all important health-related aspects that raise uncertainty about its worth for a patient. This approach to question (b) is morally and practically defensible.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Communication*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / psychology
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrology*
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Participation*
  • Patient Selection
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Renal Dialysis / psychology