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Combining the best interest standard with shared decision-making in paediatrics—introducing the shared optimum approach based on a qualitative study
- Journal Article
Paediatric decision-making is the art of respecting the interests of child and family with due regard for evidence, values and beliefs, reconciled using two important but potentially conflicting concepts: best interest standard (BIS) and shared decision-making (SD-M). We combine qualitative research, our own data and the normative framework of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (UNCRC) to revisit current theoretical debate on the interrelationship of BIS and SD-M. Three cohorts of child, parent and health care professional interviewees (Ntotal = 47) from Switzerland and the United States considered SD-M an essential part of the BIS. Their responses combined with the UNCRC text to generate a coherent framework which we term the shared optimum approach (SOA) combining BIS and SD-M. The SOA separates different tasks (limiting harm, showing respect, defining choices and implementing plans) into distinct dimensions and steps, based on the principles of participation, provision and protection. The results of our empirical study call into question reductive approaches to the BIS, as well as other stand-alone decision-making concepts such as the harm principle or zone of parental discretion. Conclusion: Our empirical study shows that the BIS includes a well-founded harm threshold combined with contextual information based on SD-M. We propose reconciling BIS and SD-M within the SOA as we believe this will improve paediatric decision-making. Show more
Journal / seriesEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
SubjectPaediatric ethics; Parental authority; Best interest standard; Qualitative research; Shared decision-making
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