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Shared Decision Making - Overview

What is it? Why it Works Contact Your Social Worker Get VETERAN
Decision Aid
Decision Aid

Shared Decision Making (SDM) is a collaborative, patient-directed decision making process that helps Veterans, together with their family caregivers and health care team, set goals and priorities, and make choices that meet patient needs while honoring patient values and preferences. Shared Decision Making is an effective approach for making difficult decisions such as planning for long term care.

Shared Decision Making Worksheet

You can download a worksheet to guide Veterans and their caregivers through difficult decisions.

Shared Decision Making worksheet

Veterans can fill out the Veteran Shared Decision Making Worksheet to:

  • Identify their needs, goals and priorities
  • Review options
  • Make decisions about next steps

Caregiver Self-Assessment Worksheet

Caregiver stress and burnout can leave Veterans vulnerable.

Caregivers Self-Assessment worksheet

Download and review the Caregiver Self-Assessment Worksheet. Use this to:

  • Guide discussions about your roles and responsibilities
  • Determine how you can support the Veteran in meeting their goals and priorities while meeting your own needs


Cartoon person scratching head

What is Shared Decision Making?
This animated video explains how patients can make a shared decision about their medical treatment.
(courtesy of

photo of a physician in a clinic

Shared Decision Making Helps Providers
Three providers explain how shared decision making improves their patient visits.

(courtesy of

Heads of four VHA leaders

VHA Leadership Supports Shared Decision Making? - Learn why VHA leaders are supporting shared decision making for choices about long term services and supports.

Rural scene with barn and fields

Shared Decision Making in Rural Areas - Learn how social work is key to helping Veterans, their family and caregivers make decisions about long term services and supports.