Enabling supported decision-making in practice


How can consumers be supported to make informed decisions and understand choices about their treatment and care in mental health? What principles are essential for good practice and implementation?

Co-produced with consumers and clinicians working in equal partnership, a Subcommittee of the Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP Victorian Branch) has developed a position paper to promote supported decision-making in mental health care.

Supported decision-making is a key tenet of Victoria’s Mental Health Act (2014) and enables consumers to understand choices in relation to their treatment and to receive support in making decisions about their care. There is growing interest in this decision-making model in Australia and New Zealand, and around the world. Supported decision-making helps to realise the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and more consumer-centred approaches to health care service delivery. The position paper highlights the principles and benefits of supported decision-making and articulates the RANZCP Victorian Branch’s commitment to its implementation in psychiatry practice. As well as informing psychiatrists and trainees, the paper will assist consumers and their families to better understand what to expect as part of clinical care.

The paper was developed through a process of co-production which involves consumers and clinicians working in equal partnership to design, deliver and evaluate agreed objectives. Ideally it also involves carers, families, and other support networks. The paper has been developed as part of a project funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to support people living with mental illness to have control and choice over their treatment, care and recovery.

In addition to the position paper, consumers and clinicians on the RANZCP Victorian Branch’s Enabling Supported Decision-Making Subcommittee, developed and facilitated an interactive training workshop for psychiatrists and trainees which participants can claim as a practice improvement activity for RANZCP continuing professional development. The Subcommittee is currently finalising an online training module which will be released at the end of the project in late 2018.

For any queries please contact Niamh Byrne, Acting Project Manager Clinical and Professional Practice on +61 (03) 9236 9103 or via Niamh.Byrne@ranzcp.org