Values-Based Decision-Making for the Caring Professions / Edition 1

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We have lost sight of the vital symmetry between values and evidence. Values lie behind absolutely everything we do, yet we allow technical decision-making to dominate every social sphere, as if only ‘the evidence’ really matters.

In this extraordinarily original and compelling book, David Seedhouse advocates values-based decision-making as a much-needed means of restoring humane balance to social planning, and explains the innovative use of information technology to turn values into evidence.

The potential of values-based decision-making is huge and exciting. The final chapter of this seminal work points the way to a democratic future in which everyone’s values can be seen and heard, regardless of technical knowledge or social status.

Values-Based Decision-Making mostly uses examples drawn from the health field.  Like David Seedhouse’s many other books, it will be of considerable interest to all health professionals.  But values-based decision-making reaches into every arena of human problem-solving, and should therefore be read by everyone who makes plans on behalf of other people.

For information about values-based decision-making software visit: 

To join the Values Exchange® browse to:

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Nalini I Rattan, BA, MA (Alzheimer Society of Canada)
Description: This book provides readers an opportunity to examine the significance of ethical reasoning when making choices. It allows readers to look at how various decisions can be made through purely rational thought compared to that which is value-based, which includes emotion and personal beliefs.
Purpose: This purpose is to look at our need to make clear and intelligible decisions. This is a worthy objective, as the value of decisions tends to be lost within policy and procedure that is created and never changed over time. This book meets the author's objectives as it pays close attention to the source of decision-making by looking at how logic, personal beliefs, and an individual's preferences can be categorized and ranked, which influences the decisions that we make in the end. It compares the effect of making a decision based purely on logic to making value-based decisions and shows the impact of both, which helps the reader to see how significant the impact can be when it comes to making a choice.
Audience: This book is written for students, those in the "caring professions," and anyone interested in philosophical thought regarding decision-making. The author is a Professor of Health and Social Ethics at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.
Features: This book covers the various ways in which decisions can be made. It looks at logical thought, values-based decisions, how personal experience can influence one's understanding and choices and how it all effects choices that are made. The areas that are particularly well covered include the section that looks at the "edge of logic" where a point system is created in enabling an individual to see how much value is placed among particular categories. When assessing the accumulated points that are assigned across those categories, an individual is then able to make a well-informed decision based on that comparison. The diagrams in the book are effective and helped the explanation of the author's concepts to be understood more clearly. Greater emphasis could have been placed on the healthcare environment and how such decision-making techniques could be applied to, and could benefit, the "caring professions." Perhaps a chapter could have been designated for that topic alone.
Assessment: This book is valuable as it allows the reader to closely examine the various methods by which decisions can be made. As decision-making plays a significant role in everyday life, this book brings attention to the significance of how closely we examine our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs and how they can collectively assist us in assessing situations and in making choices. Within healthcare, making effective and sound decisions is imperative. As this book focuses solely on decision-making, it is effective in addressing that topic. Other books that I have read have placed greater emphasis on case studies and how decisions influence healthcare based on the law, rational thought, and values. Minimal reference is made to those areas in this book, but philosophical reasoning plays a greater role in the logic behind the concepts of this book.
From the Publisher
"…valuable as it allows the reader to closely examine the various methods by which decisions can be made…" (Doody's Health Services)

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470847350
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/5/2005
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Seedhouse is a truly original thinker and prolific author, highly regarded by health practitioners, teachers and students alike. Though David has a background in philosophy, his work is always focused on solving practical problems.
Professor Seedhouse is best know for his writing on health and ethics, yet his work straddles many areas of social, philosophical and political concern. He has written or edited 14 books and produced over 200 book chapters, journal papers and other articles. His library includes the highly successful editions of Health: The Foundations for Achievement and Ethics: The Heart of Healthcare; the full list of his titles is given at the back of this book. His primary interest no lies in the development of software to enable transparent decision-making in healthcare, local democracy, schools and other social settings. The considerable practical impact of David's work can be seen - and engaged with - at
David is Professor of Health and Social Ethics at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand (where he directs the National Centre for Health and Social Ethics) and Professor of Health Care Analysis at Middlesex University, London. He is CEO of VIDe Ltd - - and a popular keynote conference speaker internationally.

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Table of Contents

About the Author.





Chapter One: The Limits of Reason.

Chapter Two: The Dominance of Values.


Chapter Three: The Truth about Relativism.

Chapter Four: How to Turn Values into Evidence.

Chapter Five: Goodbye Ethics Experts – The Democratic Promise of  Values-Based Decision-Making.




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