Thursday, August 20, 2009

Part 2: Your body, your choice

Chapter 5: Smart health choice essentials

This chapter explores the five key questions at the heart of this book:

  1. What will happen if I wait and watch?
    This explores the expected natural history of the suspected disease or condition. You can expect to recover from many conditions; treatment may speed this process only slightly or not at all.
  2. What are my test or treatment options?
    This explores some of the issues to consider when exploring what diagnostic tests and treatments are available.
  3. What are the benefits and harms of these options?
    Make sure these are expressed in a way that is relevant to you and your situation.
  4. How do the benefits and harms weigh up for me?
    Understanding how your priorities and preferences relate to potential benefits and harms.
  5. Do I have enough information to make a choice?
    If not, you may need to hunt out more information.

Chapter 6: Choosing a practitioner or a hospital

Everyone who offers you health advice should not only respect your right to be involved but encourage your participation. In most situations, your practitioner should explain what your problem is thought to be; what you can reasonably expect if your illness or condition is not treated; and the benefits and harms of the various treatment and test options. When choosing a practitioner, consider whether they are abreast of the latest evidence, share information with you, and respect your involvement in decision-making. If you are considering having a procedure, you should also assess the practitioner’s technical competence by asking about their qualifications, how often they perform the procedure and whether they are part of a quality assurance program.


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