The decision partner in healthcare decision-making: A concept analysis

Tamryn F. Gray, Marie T. Nolan, Marla L. Clayman, Jennifer A. Wenzel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: The decision partner concept emerged to describe someone who contributes to healthcare decision-making with a patient. There is a need for greater precision and consensus surrounding its conceptual definition and use in broader populations. Objective: To define and describe the decision partner concept within the context of healthcare decision-making. Design: A concept analysis. Data sources: We searched the following databases for articles published between 1990–2017: PsychINFO, PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL. We included qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods studies that used the term decision partner in the context of healthcare decision-making. Methods: We applied the Walker and Avant method to identify the antecedents, attributes, related concepts, consequences, and empirical referents of the concept, with major themes identified. Results: From the 112 articles included in this concept analysis, 6 defining attributes of decision partner were identified: (1) has a relationship with the patient, (2) demonstrates a willingness to participate in decision-making, (3) articulates a clear understanding of both the patient's health condition and the decisions that must be made, (4) demonstrates decision-making self-efficacy; (5) exemplifies an emotional capacity to participate in decision-making, and (6) willing to fulfill several supportive roles including patient advocate and the “hub of information”. Conclusions: A unifying definition and discussion of the decision partner concept has been developed. Our findings: (1) offer insights into refining the concept across various diseases and healthcare encounters, (2) contribute to developing theoretical models and empirical research to refine antecedents, attributes, consequences, (3) serve as a foundation to develop instruments to measure the concept and (4) highlight the need to design interventions that include and support decision partners in healthcare decision-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-89
Number of pages11
JournalInternational journal of nursing studies
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Decision control preference
  • Decision partner
  • Decision-making
  • Dyad
  • Family
  • Interpersonal
  • Partner
  • Relationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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