Decision support: helping patients and families to find a balance at the end of life

Int J Palliat Nurs. 2004 Jun;10(6):270-7. doi: 10.12968/ijpn.2004.10.6.13268.


Terminally ill patients and their families face many decisions at the end of life that can sometimes be overwhelming. Nurses play a key role in providing decision support so that patients and their families can make timely decisions about their health care that reflect their individual needs and circumstances. The Ottawa Decision Support Framework can help nurses to assess patients' decision-making needs, provide tailored decision support and evaluate the effect of their interventions. The theoretical underpinnings of the model and its implications for palliative care clinical practice are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Communication
  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Decision Making
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Helping Behavior
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Participation
  • Terminal Care* / methods
  • Terminal Care* / psychology