Tips & advice

Here you find overviews, points for discussion, and tips for each of the involved components of health care (assessment, counselling & decision-making, treatment). These overviews are aids for preparing yourself for your conversation with your care provider. They are available for downloading and printing.


Before the first meeting with your care provider (intake appointment), it would be helpful for you and your involved relatives to learn about the following subjects. The caregivers often discuss these subjects during the first meeting. Of course there is also the possibility of mentioning one of these subjects yourself, but you can also initiate this discussion or even better: dialogue!. Feel free to bring these lists to the meeting to help you remember.

Filled in by:

I mostly suffer from:

My condition / illness / problem has the following effects on my interaction with others:

  •          at home:
  •          at school/education/my job:
  •          in my free time:

I would like to change the following:

To accomplish this, I can contribute:

I hope the care will bring me the following:

I definitely don’t want to:

I am afraid of:

I am insecure about:

If further assessment is recommended during the first meeting, and you are unclear, you can ask the following about this assessment:

  • What is the reason for this assessment?
  • What can we expect during this assessment (what will be undertaken, how soon and how long will it take, with who)?
  • Are there any harmful effects to be expected
  • When will we receive the results of the assessment?

Counselling & decision-making

A feedback counselling session usually follows the assessment phase in the regular course of events. This meeting’s ‘agenda’ often looks as follows:


Short recap

(the cause of care, the care needs, your expectations, how events unfolded leading up to this session, additional points if applicable)

Discussing assessment and advice

(the assessment’s results, opportunities for possible care and associated explanation, your opinion/questions/reaction, the shared conclusion and possible choice for relevant care)

Shared decision on next steps

(this is a very important component of the feedback counseling session; make sure you agree with each other on the issues discussed and how to tackle the problems that were identified; the assessment’s conclusion and the associated advice should be suitable and feasible for you)


(about the care [treatment and sometimes further assessment], about the clarification [also when it concerns your child and he/she is not present], about the file report and next steps)

Own additional subjects for the consult meeting

Beforehand, it is helpful to prepare a list of subjects, which you would like to discuss at the feedback counselling session. It’s highly important that you feel comfortable to truly be yourself and bring forward your own interests / concerns / questions in a sufficient way.

Information Overload

You often receive a large amount of information in a relatively short period of time. It is almost impossible to remember every detail of every aspect after only one mention. For this reason, many professionals provide a written summary of all the information or bring up the subjects again in future meetings. You can ask about these subjects at any time. You may want to take your time to process all the new information or to discuss these subjects with your family or others involved and make a decision at a later date.

Choosing and making decisions

Usually decisions are made during the feedback counselling session on how to proceed with treatment and/or further assessment.

In order to be in a position to take a decision of which you are satisfied and able to support, it is important that the following is clear for each treatment/assessment proposal regarding your situation:

  •           what are the alternatives to choose from?
  •           what does the care provider  recommend, and why?
  •           what are the other factors in play that can affect my decision?

In choosing between the alternatives, the following questions can be of further help:

  •          what is the greater value of this advice me or to our family, in comparison to other possibilities?
  •          what are the consequences of not agreeing with care provider’s recommendation?

Other points to consider in the decision making process are: are the goals clear? are there any risks involved? what are the (evidence or practice based) findings? how much input is expected from me/us? is there a waiting period before the treatment starts?, how long will the treatment last?

Sometimes (on line) decision aids are recommended.


Agreements regarding the treatment and additional assessment can be found in the treatment plan. It is of importance that such a plan is written and to ensure that the following subjects are included:

  •  which questions for care /care needs are the inducement for the health care
  •  a description of the problems, complaints, on which the care focuses
  • the agreed treatment plan, who offers this care,  frequency of sessions, clearly defined goals, and a timeframe after which the treatment will be evaluated
  •  any additional assessment and its justification

During treatment this treatment plan helps you and your care provider to regularly evaluate together how the treatment is evolving and to discuss the result of possible additional assessment. If more care providers are involved, one of them will take on the role of coordinator and contact point for you. This person is often called the case manager. If necessary, the treatment plan is adjusted after an evaluation. You can also request an evaluation meeting, if you think the treatment plan needs to be modified.