In the medical field, compliance is used to refer to patient’s ability to adhere to medical advice given by a doctor or any other medical practitioner. Non-compliance on the other hand, is non-adherence to medical advice. At least one third of patients fail to comply with prescribed medical regimens . Studies indicate that non-compliance may result from the side effects associated with a particular medication, the period in which a drug is to be taken and complex medicinal regimens. Patients generally choose whether to follow a given prescription or not. They may also come up with varying medical practices to cope with their failure to comply .
The concept of medication practice is a perception of how individuals handle their medication. The theory focuses on meaning of medication in one’s life (Conrad, 1985). Medication practice can be a more valuable concept as compared to the concept of non-compliance because it is a more patient centered approach to controlling one’s medication. It allows patients to create practices that suit them. The medical practices developed by patients in this regard may symbolize control or try to eliminate the stigma of being diagnosed with a particular disease.
Although many equate the concept of medical practice to noncompliance, Conrad (1985) states that patients perceive it as self-regulation. The theory of self-regulation is premised on the idea that a patient’s behaviour is affected by the patient’s assessment of the condition suffered. Patients therefore tend to develop behaviour that conforms to a particular goal. In light of the above, sick people may come up with countless medical practices to self-regulate their treatments to suit their daily lives. In testing the efficiency of the concept, Conrad studied patients diagnosed with epilepsy. Conrad (1985) found out that more often than not, epileptic patients tend to increase or decrease their doses intentionally. Different practices may be informed by different reasons. For instance, increasing dosages may be to lessen their dependency on other people. In his study, Conrad highlighted that epileptic patients indicated that family members had dominated their lives by reminding them to take their medication constantly. In response to this, creating a different routine was more appropriate. Another major reason for engaging in a certain medical practise is to avoid stigmatization . Persons with epilepsy are often stigmatised. Therefore, failing to take medication sometimes is an effort to escape the stigma that is linked with the disease.
The concept views patients as active agents who reflect and deal with various incidents and uncertainties of their day to day lives rather than inactive agents of different medical routines. The medical practice concept can be a more useful compare to the theory of non-compliance because it strictly focuses on the patient. The notion upholds patient autonomy. It differs from the concept of non-compliance which places orders on a patient. The non-compliance approach is more doctor centered and due to that a patient may be unwilling to go by the orders given. The medical practise concept also recognizes the problem solving capabilities of a patient and his or her ability to make appropriate choices in regards to the condition suffered. It is converse to the sick role theory which requires a patient to do what the doctor says (Parsons, 1975).
In summary, patients often understand treatments, but it is never certain as to whether they will adhere to the prescription given. Conrad has illustrated that various reasons cause patients to create their own medical practises which deviate from the prescriptions given to them. The concept of medication practice illustrates how patients behave . The theory proves that some medical practices are not necessarily noncompliance but a means of self-regulation. From a patient’s perspective compliance is totally different from a doctor’s perspective. Due to the different views, a patient may alter his or her medication to suit social needs .
Conrad, P. (1985). The meaning of medications: another look at compliance. Social science & medicine.
Parsons, T. (1975). The sick role and the role of the physician reconsidered. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly. Health and Society.
Your thesis provides a nice summary, but it doesn’t foreshadow what you will say
Well done, providing support for each theory. It would be nice to see a more analytical perspective so consider this if you chose to expand this.
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