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J Child Health Care. 2011 Dec;15(4):312-9. doi: 10.1177/1367493511406570. Epub 2011 Aug 9.

Children's participation in decision-making: balancing protection with shared decision-making using a situational perspective.

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School of Nursing & Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.


Children's participation in decision-making in the health care setting is complex because parents and health professionals tend to take a protective stance towards children to act in their best interest. Children prefer to be protected in some situations and to share decision-making in others. Adults in the health care setting need to consider children as individuals, rather than as a homogenous group, and take into account that a child's competence and preferences will depend on the circumstances in every situation. This article argues for a situational perspective of children's participation to act in the child's best interest and to balance protection with shared decision-making, according to children's rights and desires.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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