The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1997 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Five Things I Learned This Year about Patient Compliance through Education

Gretchen Lawrence, Monday, December 8, 1997.

In today's health care environment, we must provide our patients with both effective medical treatment (using accurate diagnostics and appropriate therapy based on the diagnosis), and the tools to assist them in becoming a partner in the development and implementation of their overall plan of care. Studies have shown that patients who understand their disease and how to manage it are more likely to have positive outcomes, such as increased functional capacity and decreased utilization of health care services. This means that both the emotional costs and dollars and cents costs go down.

It takes both time and energy to insure that our patients become full and participating partners in their care. Toward that end, we must be organized and efficient, while remaining sensitive to the needs of the individual patient. What are the patient's goals for treatment? What if being ill provides the patient with attention that he might not get otherwise? What if the patient cannot read, but doesn't want anyone to know? What if the patient "no-shows" at your clinic because he does not have transportation? And what if the patient really believes that you, and not he, is ultimately responsible for controlling his disease?

Compliance. Adherence. Education. Training. Follow-up. Reinforcement. Behavior modification. Cultural realities. Challenges all to the health care professional.

AARC 50th Anniversary, December 6 - 9, 1997, New Orleans, Louisiana.

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