The Importance of Patient Compliance
In a previous forum post and column that was published on Pulmonary Fibrosis News, I wrote about how tiring it is to keep track of all your appointments while living with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Being chronically ill sometimes really does feel like a full-time job!
This week, I am feeling pretty fatigued with the amount of appointments, illness-related errands and follow-up consults that I am having and I am trying to remember the tips, comments and wonderful words of encouragement the members of this forum posted last time I was feeling this way. As I was venting to one of the allied healthcare professionals on my team about feeling what-I-call “appointment fatigue”, she actually acknowledged how tiring it is to be a patient living with a chronic illness. Furthermore, she thanked me profusely for making all the medical professionals jobs easier by actually attending my appointments.
Puzzled, I looked at her in disbelief that patients might not follow through with their appointments. She said I’d be surprised just how many people don’t keep or attend appointments, and then want answers from their physicians on how best to manage or treat their disease. To me, not attending appointments (despite them being exhausting) was never an option. I know that multiple specialists need to see me, and that they could do things differently along the way to save me a bit of time and energy (looking at efficiencies is a constant ‘work-in-progress’ in my opinion) but they’re doing the best they can too.
Then I thought about the importance of being compliant with all your medical appointments, regardless of how tiring they are, in order to best manage or treat your disease. You must be proactive in doing this, as an active part of your overall health. This is the only way your medical team can obtain a comprehensive picture of your all your needs. In the past fews weeks I’ve had: 2-sets of PFTs, a middle-of-the-night MRI, a neurology follow-up, pulmonology appointment, medication change at the Pharmacy, pulmonary rehab, balance testing and 2-rounds of extensive bloodwork. I am tired! That being said, I cannot imagine not attending these appointments.
Being compliant to not only attending medical appointments, but also being mentally prepared with questions or concerns makes you a caring and proactive patient, along with being a self-advocate for your own healthcare needs.
What are your thoughts on patient compliance, and the importance of attending all your medical appointments?
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