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Why Occupational Therapists Should Help Patients Make Challenging Decisions
New guidance from The National Institute of Health and Care (NICE) has stated that occupational therapists should play a role in supporting patients facing challenges when it comes to making decisions about their health or treatment.
The guidance provides advice to occupational therapy practitioners on what to do if they feel a patient has made an unwise decision. It says you mustn’t regard them as being unable to make their own mind up, but instead ensure that they are provided with the relevant support and information so they can make a more informed decision about their future.
The vice-chair of the NICE committee behind the new guidance, Nageena Khalique QC, has said: "Our draft guidance will help empower and support people who do have capacity to overcome difficulties they may face when making decisions.”
"They should be provided with the right information to support that specific decision. Health and social care professionals should also make sure families, friends and carers are involved in these discussions."
NICE have clarified what exactly it means for a patient to have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. If an individual is suffering from a degenerative condition or a brain injury, then the next of kin should be supported by OT’s to make a decision on their loved ones’ behalf.
The guidance states that if there is nobody suitable to make an informed decision about a person’s health, then it should be down to a medical expert. However, patients should be encouraged to create care plans in the early stages of their illness which will allow them to state their own wishes for the future which will help eliminate any unwanted decisions being made on their behalf.