Patient information and shared decision making

Quality statement 5

A patient with an infection, or at risk of an infection, is provided with information about their condition and treatment options in a way that they can understand. If antimicrobials are prescribed, information on how to use them, when to stop, potential side effects and a review plan is discussed with the patient.

Purpose

To inform patients about their clinical condition so that they can participate in decision-making about their treatment options in collaboration with their clinician. This may or may not include antimicrobials.

To improve patient understanding on how to take prescribed antimicrobials and to improve concordance with therapy.

For patients

If you have an infection, or are at risk of developing an infection, your clinician will talk to you about your treatment options. This may mean taking medicines depending on the type or risk of infection you have. Your clinician will explain the possible benefits and harms (the good things and bad things) that might happen.

If you decide to take the medicine, your clinician will give you instructions about what you need to do. It is important that you follow these instructions correctly so that the medicine can work to fight your infection. Talk to your clinician if you are not sure what do, or if you have questions.

Some medicines may have side effects. Understanding the possible side effects can help you know what to expect.

Some other things that you need to know about the antimicrobial medicine are:

  • When to start the medicine 
  • How many times a day to take, use or apply the medicine 
  • Whether to take tablets or capsules with food or on an empty stomach
  • How the medicine will affect other medicines you use
  • What the potential side effects are
  • Signs or symptoms of when to seek urgent care, depending on the type or risk of infection
  • When to stop the medicine. 

You may need another appointment with your clinician to check that the medicine is working.

For clinicians

Discuss with the patient the expected progression of the infection and the potential benefits and harms of the treatment options, which may or may not include antimicrobials. This discussion should consider the patient’s preferences and needs.

If antimicrobials are not needed, reassure the patient and inform them of other treatments that can help with symptoms.

If antimicrobials are needed, discuss with the patient the importance of using antimicrobials as prescribed, how long to take them, any potential adverse effects, any potential drug interactions with existing medicines, and when the treatment will be reviewed or ceased.

Provide verbal and/or written information and resources to the patient about their treatment options and their antimicrobial therapy. Document in the patient’s healthcare record what patient information was conveyed, including the provision of written information such as a consumer medicine information sheet, and the outcome of the shared decision making process. Examples include a hospital discharge referral, or an outpatient clinic note.

For health service organisations

Ensure systems are in place for clinicians to provide patients and/or their carers with information and advice on antimicrobial treatment options.

Ensure systems are in place so that clinicians discuss with patients and/or their carers the need to take antimicrobials as prescribed, how long to take them, any potential side effects and whether their treatment requires review.

Provide high-quality written patient materials and resources for use by clinicians and patients.

Monitor patient understanding of information provided for antimicrobial therapy and evidence of shared decision making, for example, qualitative patient surveys, patient-reported experience measures, patient-reported outcome measures and/or measuring uptake of shared decision making tools. See Appendix C of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard for more information.

Ensure processes are in place to ensure information is communicated to the patient at transitions of care (such as on referral in a community setting, or on admission to or discharge from hospital) about their treatment options and antimicrobial plan.

For patients

If you have an infection, or are at risk of developing an infection, your clinician will talk to you about your treatment options. This may mean taking medicines depending on the type or risk of infection you have. Your clinician will explain the possible benefits and harms (the good things and bad things) that might happen.

If you decide to take the medicine, your clinician will give you instructions about what you need to do. It is important that you follow these instructions correctly so that the medicine can work to fight your infection. Talk to your clinician if you are not sure what do, or if you have questions.

Some medicines may have side effects. Understanding the possible side effects can help you know what to expect.

Some other things that you need to know about the antimicrobial medicine are:

  • When to start the medicine 
  • How many times a day to take, use or apply the medicine 
  • Whether to take tablets or capsules with food or on an empty stomach
  • How the medicine will affect other medicines you use
  • What the potential side effects are
  • Signs or symptoms of when to seek urgent care, depending on the type or risk of infection
  • When to stop the medicine. 

You may need another appointment with your clinician to check that the medicine is working.

For clinicians

Discuss with the patient the expected progression of the infection and the potential benefits and harms of the treatment options, which may or may not include antimicrobials. This discussion should consider the patient’s preferences and needs.

If antimicrobials are not needed, reassure the patient and inform them of other treatments that can help with symptoms.

If antimicrobials are needed, discuss with the patient the importance of using antimicrobials as prescribed, how long to take them, any potential adverse effects, any potential drug interactions with existing medicines, and when the treatment will be reviewed or ceased.

Provide verbal and/or written information and resources to the patient about their treatment options and their antimicrobial therapy. Document in the patient’s healthcare record what patient information was conveyed, including the provision of written information such as a consumer medicine information sheet, and the outcome of the shared decision making process. Examples include a hospital discharge referral, or an outpatient clinic note.

For health service organisations

Ensure systems are in place for clinicians to provide patients and/or their carers with information and advice on antimicrobial treatment options.

Ensure systems are in place so that clinicians discuss with patients and/or their carers the need to take antimicrobials as prescribed, how long to take them, any potential side effects and whether their treatment requires review.

Provide high-quality written patient materials and resources for use by clinicians and patients.

Monitor patient understanding of information provided for antimicrobial therapy and evidence of shared decision making, for example, qualitative patient surveys, patient-reported experience measures, patient-reported outcome measures and/or measuring uptake of shared decision making tools. See Appendix C of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard for more information.

Ensure processes are in place to ensure information is communicated to the patient at transitions of care (such as on referral in a community setting, or on admission to or discharge from hospital) about their treatment options and antimicrobial plan.

Read Quality statement 6 - Documentation.