Improvement of shared decision making in integrated stroke care: a before and after evaluation using a questionnaire survey

Research article published on BMC Health Services Research. 2019 December 5

AUTHORS: H. R. Voogdt-Pruis, T. Ras, L. van der Dussen, S. Benjaminsen, P. H. Goossens, I. Raats, G. Boss, E. F. M. van Hoef, M. Lindhout, M. R. S. Tjon-A-Tsien, Bert Vrijhoef HJM.


Shared decision making (SDM) is at the core of policy measures for making healthcare person-centred. However, the context-sensitive nature of the challenges in integrated stroke care calls for research to facilitate its implementation. This before and after evaluation study identifies factors for implementation and concludes with key recommendations for adoption.

Data were collected at the start and end of an implementation programme in five stroke services (December 2017 to July 2018). The SDM implementation programme consisted of training for healthcare professionals (HCPs), tailored support, development of decision aids and a social map of local stroke care. Participating HCPs were included in the evaluation study: A questionnaire was sent to 25 HCPs at baseline, followed by 11 in-depth interviews. Data analysis was based on theoretical models for implementation and 51 statements were formulated as a result. Finally, all HCPs were asked to validate and to quantify these statements and to formulate recommendations for further adoption.

The majority of respondents said that training of all HCPs is essential. Feedback on consultation and peer observation are considered to help improve performance. In addition, HCPs stated that SDM should also be embedded in multidisciplinary meetings, whereas implementation in the organisation could be facilitated by appointed ambassadors. Time was not seen as an inhibiting factor. According to HCPs, negotiating patients’ treatment decisions improves adherence to therapy. Despite possible cognitive or communications issues, all are convinced patients with stroke can be involved in a SDM-process. Relatives play an important role too in the further adoption of SDM. HCPs provided eight recommendations for adoption of SDM in integrated stroke care.

HCPs in our study indicated it is feasible to implement SDM in integrated stroke care and several well-known implementation activities could improve SDM in stroke care. Special attention should be given to the following activities: (1) the appointment of knowledge brokers, (2) agreements between HCPs on roles and responsibilities for specific decision points in the integrated stroke care chain and (3) the timely investigation of patient’s preferences in the care process – preferably before starting treatment through discussions in a multidisciplinary meeting.

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