Mercy Medical Center North Iowa

Making an Informed Decision

Making a truly informed medical decision involves more than a single decision. It is a step-by-step process in which you take responsibility for making a number of decisions. Your decision to seek help was the first step in that process.

  1. Understanding your condition. You can't make an informed decision about something you don't understand. Your first step is to gain knowledge about your disease.
    • Listen carefully to your health-care professionals when you are presented with a diagnosis of your condition and a description of your treatment options.
    • Thoroughly read any written information provided by your health care team.
    • Seek out information on your own.
    • Ask questions about anything you do not understand.
  2. Weigh the risks and benefits. After gaining adequate information about your condition, you must next weigh the risks and benefits associated with your treatment options.
    • Keep in mind the impact your condition has on your way of life.
    • Consider the limitations that your symptoms place on the activities which are most important to you.
    • Discuss these issues with your family and your health care team.
      In some cases you may discover that the risks outweigh the treatment benefits. In other cases, the benefit may outweigh any possible risk.
  3. Develop realistic goals and commit to working toward recovery. What do you want to accomplish by having medical treatment? How much of a commitment are you willing to make to accomplish this goal?
    • Treatment is only the beginning of your recovery process, and may help to relieve your symptoms but alone cannot return you to a healthy state.
    • As your body begins to heal on it's own, you must make a physical and mental commitment to regaining your lost abilities.
    • Recognize that it is your effort, your lifestyle choices and the severity of your medical condition, which will determine the degree to which you can return to a normal way of life.
  4. Make a final decision. After you have all your questions answered, it is up to you to make a final decision about which treatment option is best for
    you. Once you make that decision, trust in it, look to the future and work to achieve the best possible outcome.
  5. The benefit for you.
    • Less anxiety prior to and during your treatment.
    • A better mental attitude, which can help to increase your body's own healing powers.
    • A speedier recovery because you are committed to actively participating in returning to a normal level of activity.
    • The best recovery possible because you have realistic goals and work steadily to achieve them.