Empowering Autonomy in the Older Adult Through the Use of Decision Aids

By Stacey Zeigler and Diane Clark.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An individual is described as having autonomy if he or she is able to make and act on decisions independently, without outside influence from others. In the past, healthcare providers have assumed that older adults either did not want to participate or were incapable of participating in decision-making about their care. New evidence demonstrates that shared decision-making, between the healthcare provider and the individual, results in better care and lower costs. Decision aids are tools that enable the individual to more fully participate in decision making. Barriers exist to the consistent use of decision aids in health care practice. Healthcare providers’ acknowledgment that older adults are experts in what is important to them, and how their values and preferences inform decision making is imperative in continuing to improve the cost and quality of healthcare.

Keywords: Older Adult, Empowerment, Autonomy, Decision Making, Decision Aids

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.123-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 277.365KB).

Dr. Stacey Zeigler

Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, USA

Stacey Zeigler, PT, DPT, GCS, is a clinical associate professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Dr. Zeigler received her BS in physical therapy from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, her Masters in health administration and wellness promotion from California College for Health Sciences, and earned her DPT from Simmons College. She has been a board certified geriatric clinical specialist since 2002. Dr. Zeigler also has over eighteen years clinical experience in a wide variety of wellness and patient care settings, including her current practice with Hospice and her own private practice focusing on innovations in aging. She has presented extensively on her passions of leadership in health care and improving the quality of life for older adults.

Dr. Diane Clark

Associate Program Director, Physical Therapy, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Diane Clark, PT, MBA, DScPT, is the associate program director for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. Clark received her undergraduate degree in physical therapy from McGill University, her Master in Business Administration from Georgetown University, and her Doctor of Science degree in physical therapy from UAB. Her research is focused in the area of health literacy, patient communication, and outcome measures, with publications and presentations on these topics at the national level. She has thirty years of clinical experience in the acute care setting. Her clinical interests center on the medically complex patient.