Illness and injury often entail lasting health and social consequences beyond the acute event. During the immediate and long-term recovery period, consequences of illness or injury can often be mitigated and addressed. As patients and their clinicians discuss care decisions, whether for initial or ongoing management of illness or injury, they must consider patients' personal goals of recovery alongside possible clinical outcomes to choose the best path forward. Understanding the recovery process and patients' and clinicians' decision making requires clarifying the concept of recovery and its significance. This article will describe how shared decision making can support the recovery process using a case example of brachial plexus injury.