Shared decision making

You and your child have a right to be involved in your child’s care.

Shared decision-making is when you and your child work with your doctor or healthcare professional to make decisions together, instead of decisions being made on behalf of you and your child. It means talking about your and/or your child’s goals, values, preferences and what you want to achieve, along with the benefits and risks of treatment.

Before deciding, you might want to:

1. Clarify your decision

  • What decision do you face?
  • Why are you making this decision?
  • When do you need to make a choice?

2. Explore your options

  • What are the options?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each option?
  • Which benefits and risks matter most to you and your child?
  • Do you and/or your child have enough support and advice to make a choice?
  • Do you feel sure about the best choice for you and your child?

3. Plan your next steps

If you feel you do not have enough facts, support, or are unsure of anything, you might like to:

  • Make a list of your questions (consider using a Question Builder tool)
  • Make a list of where to find answers (such as the library, health professionals, or counsellors)
  • Find people who have made this decision before and talk with them or read their stories
  • Talk about the decision with a trusted person (such as a health professional, counsellor, family, or friend)
  • Think about what other things are making the decision hard for you and/or your child.

Adapted from the Ottawa Family Decision Guide.

Remember, if you feel you are not, or were not, involved in making decisions about your child’s healthcare, you have a right to give feedback.


Last Updated: 07/07/2023