Sickle cell disease and problem solving: Evaluate your options

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Step 3 of the Bright IDEAS system is to evaluate the options you listed in the previous step. Learn how to evaluate and rank your options to help you choose the best solution for your situation.

Key points

  • After creating a list of possible solutions, you will need to evaluate your options to pick the one that fits your family and situation.
  • First, you will eliminate any options that have too many negative risks or too much uncertainty.
  • Next, you will select a few good possible solutions and rank them based on any barriers to the solutions. This will help you identify your top choices.
  • Be prepared to carry out your second and third choices if your first option does not work out as well as you hoped.

Step 3 in the Bright IDEAS system is to evaluate all the possible solutions to the problem.

The first way to do this is to get rid of any possible options that have too many negative risks or consequences, or options where you are too unsure of the outcomes. This means removing any options with more (-) and (0) than (+).

The second thing to do is to select a few good possible solutions.

Remember, one problem can have many solutions. You need to pick the one that best fits your family and your situation.

Case study: Maya evaluates her options

Maya looks at her rating table and removes:

  • all options that have negative short- and long-term consequences
  • any options that she already knows will not solve the problem

This is the new list of options that she comes up with.

  1. Ask my husband to take full responsibility for dealing with the children every morning.
  2. Ignore the problem and don’t try to make Eva go to school
  3. Talk to the school to see if they will allow Eva to start at a later time.
  4. Let Eva decide on her own whether she goes to school
  5. Take turns with my husband—alternate the days we are responsible for getting Eva up and to school.
  6. Throw cold water on Eva to wake her up
  7. Have Eva set an alarm clock to wake herself up each morning.
  8. Make Matthew, our oldest child, be responsible for getting Eva up
  9. Divorce my husband so we don’t argue anymore
  10. Make lots of noise in the morning (bang pots and pans) to wake Eva.
  11. Take away Eva’s phone if she doesn’t go to school.
  12. Give Eva rewards (like choosing what the family eats for dinner) for waking up to go to school.

Rank the preferred options

For each good possible solution, think about whether there are any big barriers to overcome. Barriers could include:

  • the amount of time needed to carry out the solution
  • the amount of effort that will be involved
  • the cost of the solution
  • the people who will need to be involved

Once you have identified these barriers, you need to rank your range of possible solutions.

Whatever you choose as #1 should be your first and best choice. However, be prepared to carry out choice #2 or #3 if your first choice does not work out as well as you had hoped.

Case study: Maya ranks her options

Maya decided to think about the barriers to all the possible solutions that were left after she removed the ones with too many negative risks or consequences.

  • For each option, she did a cost-benefit analysis: Is the cost or barrier (what she has to change) worth the benefit (the problem getting better or becoming less of an issue)?
  • Then, she ranked her shortlist of solutions from best to worst (rank order of 1 to 6).
Possible solutionsBarriersRank
1. Ask my husband to take full responsibility for dealing with the children every morning.My husband would have to agree to take it all on and make her get up.
6
2. Talk to the school to see if they will allow Eva to start at a later time.The school principal and her teachers probably won’t go along with it, and she would probably end up missing a lot of first period and end up having to retake the class.5
3. Take turns with my husband—alternate the days we are responsible for getting Eva up and to school.We have to make a schedule, and my husband has to be on board. I’m not sure how/if it would work in the long term.4
4. Have Eva set an alarm clock to wake herself each morning for school.I don’t know if Eva would do it.3
5. Take Eva's phone away if she doesn't go to school.If I take her cell phone away, I might not be able to reach her.1
6. Give Eva rewards (like choosing the family dinner) for waking up in time to go to school.We would have to set up some boundaries for the amount of money to spend on dinners. It could get expensive.2

Last updated: March 4th 2024