Adherence: Tools for Treatment Success

Speakers: Maura Daly Iversen, PT, MPH, DSc, DPT Kamala Nola, MS, PharmD
Perspective By: Carrie Beach, BSN, RN-BC

Dr. Iversen’s portion of the discussion was titled: Effectiveness of Strategies Targeting Knowledge, Attitudes & Behavioral Skills to Enhance Adherence in Arthritis She discussed specifically, how to improve patient’s adherence to exercise regimens. Four successful strategies that she recommended were patient-led goal setting, self-monitoring, online community support, and the use of a 5-minute yoga app. They key take away from these strategies is to make sure the patient is involved in coming up with a realistic plan with activities that they enjoy. I personally loved the idea of the 5-minute yoga app. We highly recommend stretching and yoga to our patients in practice, but starting something new can be intimidating. This app demonstrates simple yoga poses and stretches.

In the second part of the session, Dr. Nola discussed medication access and the effect of external obstacles on patient adherence. Dr. Nola again highlighted the importance of keeping patients involved in their own plan of care. Two excellent strategies that she recommended were to, first, set expectations early in regards to side effects. Educate patients on some of the most common side effects associated with the medication they are taking, and ways that we can mitigate some of those side effects should they occur. Secondly, Dr. Nola discussed the concept of medication synchronization. This is a service that many pharmacies offer that enables a patient to pick up all of their medication refills at one time. By only needing to make one trip to the pharmacy, patients are more likely to adhere to a specific medication regimen, rather than having the burden of making multiple trips.

Overall, this was an excellent presentation with many suggestions and strategies that health care providers can unitize to increase patient adherence. Both speakers highlighted the importance of patient-centered care and its impact on adherence in all aspects of the treatment plan.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Carrie Beach, BSN, RN-BC, is a rheumatology nurse with the Columbus Arthritis Center in Columbus, OH, and the President of the Rheumatology Nurses Society