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Shared decision-making in mental health care-A user perspective on decisional needs in community-based services

Katarina Grim, David Rosenberg, Petra Svedberg, Ulla-Karin Schön
International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being 2016, 11: 30563
27167556

BACKGROUND: Shared decision-making (SDM) is an emergent research topic in the field of mental health care and is considered to be a central component of a recovery-oriented system. Despite the evidence suggesting the benefits of this change in the power relationship between users and practitioners, the method has not been widely implemented in clinical practice.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to investigate decisional and information needs among users with mental illness as a prerequisite for the development of a decision support tool aimed at supporting SDM in community-based mental health services in Sweden.

METHODS: Three semi-structured focus group interviews were conducted with 22 adult users with mental illness. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using a directed content analysis. This method was used to develop an in-depth understanding of the decisional process as well as to validate and conceptually extend Elwyn et al.'s model of SDM.

RESULTS: The model Elwyn et al. have created for SDM in somatic care fits well for mental health services, both in terms of process and content. However, the results also suggest an extension of the model because decisions related to mental illness are often complex and involve a number of life domains. Issues related to social context and individual recovery point to the need for a preparation phase focused on establishing cooperation and mutual understanding as well as a clear follow-up phase that allows for feedback and adjustments to the decision-making process.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: The current study contributes to a deeper understanding of decisional and information needs among users of community-based mental health services that may reduce barriers to participation in decision-making. The results also shed light on attitudinal, relationship-based, and cognitive factors that are important to consider in adapting SDM in the mental health system.

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