Emphasizing the importance of their wound care can make a bigger impact coming from you than a doctor.

An estimated 44 million adults in the United States are currently caring for an older friend or family member. Most of these caregivers are working part- or full-time jobs, while attending to their patients for an average of 20 hours per week. While this situation is difficult in and of itself, the frustration is escalated when the patient is noncompliant.

“Noncompliance” is when a patient doesn’t take their medications as prescribed or follow their doctor’s lifestyle recommendations. When it comes to wound care, patients may not keep their doctor’s appointments or take the medications prescribed for their wound infection treatment. According to The New York Times, approximately 50 percent of medical patients are considered noncompliant in some way.

The American Pharmacists Association has established that up to 11 percent of hospital admissions, 40 percent of nursing home admissions and 125,000 deaths per year could be avoided had patients been compliant with their medication regimens.

Reasons for noncompliance

There are many reasons that a patient might be noncompliant. Their medications or supplies may simply be too expensive or they don’t want to make the effort to change their lifestyle. Many patients don’t like the way their medications make them feel, or they’re feeling better, so they don’t feel the need to continue medication or treatment. This is a common occurrence in geriatric patients, many of them become fed up with the amount of medications they’re prescribed. In many wound care cases, the doctor’s regimen is too difficult or inconvenient for a patient to keep up on their own.

What to do about a noncompliant patient

If your parent or friend is allowing you to care for them, you’ve won half of the battle. In the case of a wound care patient, it’s commonly a challenge to get them to change the dressing on their wound every day, sometimes more than once. When they have someone helping them, they’ll be more likely to adhere to the doctor’s instructions. Make it known to your parent or friend that you’re there to help and that you are happy to do it. A patient with a caregiver is more likely to keep up with wound debridement appointments and bed rest than someone with no help.

Tell your patient about the importance of keeping up with their doctor’s orders. Many doctors just tell them what to do, rather than explaining the importance of it.  If they have the information they need to take care of their own health, they’ll be more likely to understand the need to comply and the consequences that could arise if they don’t.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients.