Respond to non adherence with assessment

I have said many times the key to improving outcomes through patient education is involve the learner in the process and individualize the intervention to the specific needs of the learner. Especially when we feel frustrated, we need to let go of assumptions and return to assessment. The answers are often right in front of us. Here’s another example of the power of listening:

A woman with a genetic clotting disease admitted she didn’t take her prescribed medicine regularly. When the nurse asked why, she learned it was intentional.

The woman said she had to decide each morning whether or not she should take it. Before taking her medicine, the patient needed to calculate the likelihood her husband would beat her that day, based on his anger and alcohol status. She did not take blood thinners on days she felt at risk for developing a bleed.

Treating every patient with the same approach not only misses opportunities, but risks damaging relationships because the patient feels you don’t understand or care.  Listen carefully.

Each patient is unique. Each intervention needs to be individualized. That is the art of health care.


©2018 Fran London, MS, RN

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