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Promoting treatment adherence 

Promoting treatment adherence
Promoting treatment adherence

Kelly B. Haskard-Zolnierek

, Tricia A. Miller

, and M. Robin DiMatteo

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date: 01 December 2020

Empirical evidence demonstrates that quality healthcare outcomes depend greatly upon patients’ adherence to their recommended treatments. Patient adherence is a patient’s ability to follow his or her treatment recommendations given by a healthcare provider. Rates of adherence, however, can be as poor as 50% or less among patients with certain chronic diseases. For cancer patients, non-adherence can have serious consequences, including increased disease morbidity and mortality. Factors associated with non-adherence in cancer patients include treatment complexity, illness severity, patients’ beliefs and attitudes, lack of social support, and depression. Improving adherence depends upon effective provider–patient communication, trust in the therapeutic relationship, shared decision-making, and a realistic assessment of patients’ knowledge and understanding of their treatment. To assist cancer patients in acquiring appropriate disease and treatment information, to build commitment and motivation, and to assist in the development of strategies to overcome treatment barriers, healthcare professionals can use the Information-Motivation-Strategy model.

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