Good piece on non-compliance, where patients don’t follow their meds or other advice:
“Be compassionate,” Dr. Steiner advises doctors. “Understand what a complicated balancing act it is for patients.”
Doctors and patients need to work together to figure out what is reasonable and realistic, prioritizing which measures are most important. For one patient, taking the diabetes pills might be more crucial than trying to quit smoking. For another, treating the depression is more critical than treating the cholesterol. A water pill may be out of the question for a taxi driver on the road all day; a low-salt diet may be impossible for someone living in a homeless shelter.
“Improving adherence is a team sport,” Dr. Steiner adds. Input from nurses, care managers, social workers and pharmacists is critical.
Other elements that come into play include giving people the tools to make compliance easier (e.g., tables of medication schedules rather than separate prescriptions, blister packs grouping various drugs by day and time for older patients), as well as encouragement on other activities (e.g., walking) that are part of recovery and health.