Shared decision making is integral to high-quality, evidence-based, and patient-centred physiotherapy practice. It involves therapists and patients collaboratively making a health-related decision after having discussed the options, the likely benefits and harms of each option, and considered the patient's values, preferences and circumstances. Despite being a crucial part of the final step in evidence-based practice, the skills needed to facilitate shared decision making are rarely taught to physiotherapists. This Debate article explores the reasons for the importance of shared decision making to physiotherapy practice; its fundamental role in improving therapist-patient communication, informed decision-making, and evidence-based care; and illustrates some of the processes involved using clinical scenarios.
Keywords: Evidence-based practice; Patient-centred care; Shared decision making.
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