The Key to Compliance: Belief in the Treatment

Modern medicine isn’t generally described as an act of faith, but now gerontology nursing expert University of Missouri Assistant Professor Todd Ruppar says that beliefs play a very large role in compliance with doctors’ orders.

Ruppar found that because patients have their own existing beliefs about the appropriate treatments for their conditions, they tend to not rigorously follow their doctors’ recommendations.  Patients who are not compliant with prescription therapy tend to underuse medications, believing that other measures (exercise, diet, etc) will fill the gap and result in the same outcome.  This low commitment to the drug regimen results in drug therapy not working as well as it should.

Rather than increased educational efforts, Ruppar recommends using monitors or dose timers to help make taking medicine an automatic part of the patient’s routine.  Because motivation to comply is not purely logical, taking emotion and belief out of the compliance equation can actually help improve treatment results.

23. October 2012 by David Weiss
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