Shared decision making with family carers is clearly espoused in policy in the UK and elsewhere. The researchers in this U.S. study were interested to look at to what extent parents of children with autism spectrum disorder reported being engaged in such shared decision making.
They set out to look at the association between shared decision making here variables:
i. satisfaction with care,
ii. perceived guidance regarding controversial issues in autism spectrum disorder,
iii. perceived assistance navigating the multitude of treatment options.
They developed surveys based on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and sent the questionnaires to 203 parents of children from ages 3 to 18 with autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. They got a very good response rate, with 64% returning completed questionnaires.
They found that the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder did report high levels of shared decision making and reported significantly greater satisfaction with the overall quality of their child’s health care.
They also found that those parents who reported higher levels of shared decision making were also significantly more likely to report receiving guidance on treatment options and controversial issues related to autism spectrum disorder.
The authors conclude that shared decision making was
associated with higher parent satisfaction and improved guidance regarding treatments and controversial issues within primary care for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Shared Decision Making: Improving Care for Children with Autism, Golnik A et al, in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 50, 4, 322-331.