The Ethics of Noncompliant Patients Health Law and Ethics. HCS/545August 14, 2015The Ethics of Noncompliant Patients
2All health care providers, regardless of specialty have encountered noncompliant patients. There are many cases where patients can act in a noncompliant manner including ignoring treatment plans, not taking medication, disregarding medical advise, and a large percent of patients are noncompliant without realizing it. When patient’s act in a noncompliant manner, deliberately or not it is the physician’s responsibility to address the behavior, gain understanding as to why the patient is noncompliant and decide the best action to take to ensure that the patient is safe while protecting the practice. However, the ethical question of should a physician continue to treat the noncompliant patient or discharge the patient from the practice for noncompliance is one that many physicians struggle with. This is why physicians must first understand the behavior prior to taking action. Results of noncompliant behaviorWhen patients act in noncompliant manner, a physician can terminate the relationship at any time. As previously discussed, noncompliance can include but is not limited to ignoring treatment plans, disregarding medical advise, or even unknowingly being noncompliant. The most common reason why patients are noncompliant include misunderstanding due to medical terminology, language barriers, hearing disability, metalbarriers, not understanding the extent of their condition, financial problems, the patient does not have coverage and other times the patient simply forgot (Browne, A., 2012). These situations can be corrected by good communication skills, active listening, and patient follow up by the physicians. Regardless of the reasoning behind the patient’s act,
3it is up to the physician to evaluate the patient’s individual case, determine if it can be corrected, and take proper actions.
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