Using B.R.A.I.N. to make informed medical decisions

B.R.A.I.N. is a helpful tool for parents (or anyone) making a medical decision.

By considering the benefits, risks, alternatives, intuition and potential consequences of doing nothing, people can make more informed choices regarding healthcare.

This tool encourages a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to decision making. This can be used when speaking with health professionals, at the GP or in the ED.

From a professional perspective, I really appreciate when parents ask questions, i.e., is this really necessary? What are the risks with this procedure? What might happen if we wait?

I encourage the questioning and always offer as much information as possible (where clinically appropriate) to ensure that the parents are feeling educated and can make an informed decision.

Never apologise for seeking clarification so that you can make an educated decision for what you believe is best for your child.

If you are ever feeling stuck or overwhelmed when making a decision in healthcare, come back to this tool.

I have used this BRAIN acronym many times myself personally, too. It’s your right to fully understand any medical conditions, procedures, tests and your options associated with this.

B enefits
R isks
A lternatives
I ntuition
N othing

What are the benefits of the recommended course of action or treatment?

What are the risks involved with the recommended course or action or treatment? Are there any side effects to consider?

Are there any alternative options or approaches? Is there anything else we can try? What other treatments or interventions could be considered?

What are my instincts telling me?
What is my gut and/or my parental intuition telling me?
How do I feel about what’s being offered?

What happens if we do nothing? What happens if we wait or delay the recommendation? Have you used this tool before? I’d love to hear your story.

Nicole is a paediatric emergency nurse and the founder of Rhythm First Aid. Nicole is on a mission to educate and empower our community. Working as an Emergency Nurse in a trauma centre, she has experienced first-hand the importance of well-developed first aid knowledge and skills. Armed with experience, knowledge, and determination to improve outcomes for families and businesses, Rhythm First Aid was established with a vision to ensure quality and fun CPR and first aid training accessible for all.

As always, information on this website is for educational purposes only.
Please consult your GP for information specific to your child.

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