If you think compliance to your treatment plan is complicated and expensive – try non-compliance!
Unfortunately, there are many reasons why you might delay picking up your chronic medication or skip a dose every now and then. When life gets busy, it is easy for us to neglect ourselves and put our health at the bottom of our list of priorities. Apart from simply not having time, you might find that your medication regimen is too complicated to understand or some of the pills you take make you feel worse (or seem to). If this sounds like you, you are not alone – medication is not taken as directed as much as 50 percent of the time.
Why this this such a problem? Simply put, not taking your medication as prescribed could lead to very serious consequences such as your disease getting worse, ending up in hospital or even death. Collecting your meds might seem like a big inconvenience now, but it will pale in comparison to the impact that a hospital admission will have on your life. Benjamin Franklin said, “You may delay, but time will not.” With each day, week or month that goes by that you are not using your treatment correctly, your chronic condition is given the opportunity to progress.
Taking your medication correctly is important for maintaining your quality of life for as long as possible – something that will benefit you as well as those you love. Here are some tips to help you stick to your treatment plan and save yourself the painful reality of wishing you had done it sooner:
Identify the factors that are preventing you from taking your meds. Is it simply the inconvenience of getting to the pharmacy or do you worry that your medication has side effects making you feel less than your best? Try to think clearly about why you struggle to be adherent so that you can properly address it. Sometimes the fear of admitting that you have a condition which requires long-term treatment can be a barrier to adherence. Be honest with yourself to give yourself the best chance of success.
Communicate with your healthcare providers. A good relationship with your doctor and pharmacist is an essential part of medication adherence. If you have any questions or concerns, raise them with those who are there to help you. Your pharmacist is an expert in medications and can offer you advice on how to better fir them into your lifestyle.
Make use of services aimed at increasing your convenience. Services which allow you to order your medication ahead of schedule can go a long way to removing the nuisance of collecting your medication every month. If seeing a long queue in your pharmacy is enough to cause you to turn around and walk out, speak to your pharmacist about the services offered to allow you to skip the queue and get your meds pre-packed for easy delivery or delivered to your door.
Make your medication part of your routine. Take your medication at the same time every day or link it to another daily activity such as brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed. Your medication should be a habit which will make it more difficult to forget. If you still struggle, set a reminder on your phone or ask someone else to keep you accountable.
Plan ahead. If you know that you are going to be travelling, for example, make sure that you have enough stock of your meds to cover the time that you will be away.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you think you may be struggling to accept your diagnosis or feel fearful of the impact it could have on your life, you may benefit from taking to a therapist about what you are experiencing. Until you are able to accept your situation and prioritize your health, adherence to your medication is going to be challenging.
Work towards achieving better adherence so that you can get the most out of life. It is never too soon to start.