How to Manage a Non-Compliant Patient
Part of your job as a pharmacist is helping your patients to understand their medications and what kind of difference they will make in their lives. It can be concerning when a patient isn’t showing any positive progress or having the outcomes expected for a specific medication. For some, it might be a case of the wrong medication being prescribed. Or you might be dealing with a non-compliant patient who isn’t taking their medications or is taking them against instructions.
Find Out Reasons for Non-Compliance
When you have a non-compliant patient, the first thing you should do is find out why they have decided not to take a medication. For some, it might be that they are afraid of the side effects that are associated with the prescription or that they have been experiencing when taking them. Others may have made up their own mind that a treatment plan will not work and have gone rogue. Other patients might have financial challenges that result in being unable to afford the medication as it was prescribed. Once you have a root cause for the non-compliance, you can begin to help.
Discuss the Importance of Compliance
Counseling your patient about their medications is an important step in the dispensing process. Often, when someone has decided against taking a medication or is taking it improperly, it is because they did not receive the proper counseling, this may have been an oversight of the pharmacist or because they refused counseling or weren’t paying attention. Help them to understand the purpose of the medication, best practices for taking the doses, and any steps that they can take to combat troublesome side effects that might go along with the prescription.
Offer Solutions to Challenges
Those who have financial concerns that are preventing them from paying for their prescribed medication can benefit from a little extra effort on the pharmacist’s part. It can be helpful to keep information on hand about local programs that might be of assistance to them. Also, many drug manufacturers offer discounts and help for those who cannot afford their medication. For others, simply finding a way to time the medication refills to their pay or benefits schedules can solve the problem.
Reach Out to Prescribing Physician
If you cannot seem to find a solution for your patient, step in as a liaison between them and their physician. Let them know about your findings and your concerns about the patient’s outcome. They might have ideas of an alternative medication that they can use that might be more affordable or will not have the same side effects that are causing the non-compliance.
As a health care provider, it is your job to stay persistent in finding solutions for your patients’ health. In most cases, your efforts will pay off, but try not to be discouraged when you don’t succeed. While it may not be possible to win every battle, doing your best to help a non-compliant patient come in line with a treatment plan may improve or even save a life.