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Helping Families Make Tough Health Care Decisions: Innovation at CHEO changes young lives around the world
OTTAWA (ONTARIO), December 4, 2013 — Should my son take medicine for ADHD? Should my daughter get the HPV vaccine? What are the pros and cons?

To help children and their families make difficult health or social decisions, CHEO has published the first comprehensive electronic library of pediatric patient decision aids in the world. Patient decision aids are standardized, evidenced-based tools which help families become more involved in decision making.

Health problems and illness lead to many questions and often hard decisions which may include considering more than one reasonable option.

CHEO’s web-based pediatric decision aid library includes 58 tools for families facing difficult decisions on topics including allergies, ADHD, diabetes, vaccines and antibiotic treatment. These tools, which have been developed by clinicians and decision-making experts throughout the world including at CHEO, can be easily found for the first time in one location – CHEO’s A to Z Inventory.

“Patients and families are the most underutilized resources in health care. We need to listen more to what matters most to them, and to their values and experiences, so they receive the treatment that is right for them. Using patient decision aids enables better information sharing between families and the health care team, creates more realistic expectations and a better match between families’ preferences and treatment choices,” explained Dr Margaret Lawson, medical director of CHEO’s Family Decision Services.

The pediatric patient decision aids can be found on CHEO’s website:  

Many studies, including a 2010 CHEO survey, have demonstrated that families are not involved in health decision making to the extent that they want to be or could be. Research also shows that lack of family involvement in decision making contributes to unwarranted practice variation, undermines evidence-based practice, and threatens patient safety.

“At CHEO we are committed to providing an exceptional patient experience and an important part of that is engaging kids and their parents in their treatment. Patient decision aids are key tools in this process,” said Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO.

CHEO’s Family Decision Services has existed since 2009 and is part of CHEO’s efforts to engage children, youth and their families in their own health and improve the overall patient experience.

Providing an exceptional patient experience is also part of CHEO’s recently launched new strategy, CHEOnext.


For further information, please contact:

Eva Schacherl
Communications Manager and Strategist
613-737-7600 x3536
613-769-5553 (cell.)  
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