A decision coach is a trained health care professional who is non-directive and provides support that aims to develop patients’ skills in:
- thinking about the options;
- preparing for discussing the decision in a consultation with their practitioner;
- implementing the chosen option.
Coaching is provided face-to-face or using the telephone. It can be used alone or in combination with a patient decision aid or the Ottawa Personal Decision Guide. Training involves learning about decision coaching as an intervention to prepare patients to discuss options with their practitioner and may include the use of decision support tools.
To enhance the quality of decision coaching, there are several resources:
- a script for standardizing the way decision coaching is provided to patients/individuals;
- videos demonstrating decision coaching for a health or social decision;
- the Decision Support Analysis Tool (DSAT-10) for evaluating the quality;
- guidance on effective communication skills;
- the Interprofessional Shared Decision Making model and the Ottawa Decision Support Framework that include decision coaching;
- the Framework for decision coach-mediated shared decision making.
A review of several studies showed that when decision coaching was used alone or with a patient decision aid, patients were more knowledgeable, had higher perceived involvement in decision making, and were more satisfied with the decision making process. Examples of healthcare professionals who have provided decision coaching are nurses, pharmacists, geneticists, health educators, psychologists, and social workers.
- Feenstra B, Lawson ML, Harrison D, Boland L, Stacey D. Decision coaching using the Ottawa Family Decision Guide with parents and their children: A field testing study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2015, 15:5 (7 February 2015).
- O’Connor AM, Stacey D, Légaré F. Coaching to support patients in making decisions. BMJ. 2008 Feb 2;336(7638):228-9.
- Stacey D, Kryworuchko J, Belkora J, Davison BJ, Durand MA, Eden KB, Hoffman AS, Koerner M, Légaré F, Loiselle MC, Street RL. (2013) Coaching and guidance with patient decision aids: A review of theoretical and empirical evidence. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2013;13 Suppl 2:S11. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-13-S2-S11. Epub 2013 Nov 29.
- Stacey D, Kryworuchko J, Bennett C, Murray MA, Mullan S, Légaré F. Decision coaching to prepare patients for making health decisions: A systematic review of decision coaching in trials of patient decision aids. Med Decis Making. 2012 May-Jun;32(3):E22-33. doi: 10.1177/0272989X12443311. Epub 2012 Apr 13.
- Stacey D, Murray MA, Légaré F, Dunn S, Menard P, O’Connor AM. Decision Coaching to Support Shared Decision Making: A framework, evidence, and implications for nursing practice, education, and policy. Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2008;5(1):25-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-6787.2007.00108.x. Epub 2008 Feb 6.
Last modified: 2015-04-24.