Why not Comply part 1

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Part I of a two-part series

Many stroke survivors are patients for the rest of their lives. They remain under a doctor’s care, taking medicine and living with dietary, exercise and stress management prescriptions. But not following the doctor’s guidance is a costly and growing problem.

If you aren’t following doctors’ orders — and that’s about half of you — use this list to start tackling the problem.

Internal Barriers

Denial

For many people, taking a prescription reminds them that they’re sick. You might take your dose one day and skip the next to see if anything happens. Although you might not feel appreciably better or worse taking blood pressure medication, the long-term consequences can be catastrophic.

Stubborn refusal

Some patients just won’t cooperate. They may refuse to take their meds because of unpleasant side effects. Others expect immediate results and quit when they don’t see them. If they doubt their treatment plan is effective, they’re likely to resist.

Cognitive deficits

Short-term memory loss can make maintaining a simple dosing schedule challenging. Some patients have difficulty doing the complicated sequencing that multiple prescriptions require. Dementia or memory loss are especially serious for people with high blood pressure or diabetes, because the conditions require constant monitoring.

Lack of knowledge

Many survivors leave the hospital not understanding how the stroke happened or the therapeutic strategy or its goals. Some don’t understand the underlying condition that may have caused the stroke. They’re unprepared for the amount and complexity of information that comes with a new diagnosis.

Life gets busy and other priorities get in the way

It seems like taking a pill every day would be easy, but sometimes what is easy to do is easy not to do. At first your medication may be the highest priority, but eventually other priorities pop up and demand attention.

Once you identify why you resist compliance, here are some ways of dealing with them.

Read Part II on this topic to learn about the external challenges stroke survivors face in following doctors' orders.


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