Current Content
Volume 33, Number 2
March/April 2007

Continuing Nursing Education
Shared Decision Making in School-Age Children with Asthma
Arlene M. Butz, Jennifer M. Walker, Margaret Pulsifer, and Marilyn Winkelstein

Shared decision making in health care is a mutual partnership between the health care provider and the patient. Traditionally, children have had little involvement during their medical care visits or in decisions regarding their health care. Shared decision making in children with asthma may enhance their self-confidence as well as improve their self-management skills. Allowing the child to participate during the visit requires assessing the child's competence at different ages and abilities. Specific communication techniques to use with children during medical encounters include visual aids, turn-taking, clarifying communication, and role modeling. Providers additionally can offer strategies to parents on how to provide general information about asthma and treatments based on the child's questions and interest. The goal for school age children with asthma is to change dyadic interactions between the provider and parent into triadic interactions to improve the child's asthma management.