One cohort of managers who took part in the My Home Life NI programme identified difficulty with achieving shared decision making within the care home setting. They subsequently developed and  introduced a ‘Decision Tree’ which is used to facilitate the involvement of residents in decisions about life in their care home.

Using this approach, a small tree, usually an artificial one, is placed in a focal point in the care home.

Alongside the tree a question is posted such as:

  • Where would you like to go on an outing?
  • What do you think about the current menu?

Leaves are located beside the tree, often represented by luggage tags and staff, residents and relatives are encouraged to answer the question by writing their views on a leaf and hanging it on the tree.

The tree is usually left ‘open for answers’ for a week, thereby giving people time to think about their answers.

In addition to its impact on shared decision making, the decision tree has proven to be a topic of conversation between staff and residents and appears to be particularly appreciated by residents with dementia who previously struggled with questionnaires or ‘on the spot’ questioning by staff.

Decision Tree in Practice

Decision Tree in Practice